Well, that was quick! Viacom’s surprise announcement at the beginning of November that Harmonix was being sold is still fresh in many people’s minds, and a tweet from @RockBand just let us know that the sale has already been completed. Viacom’s CEO mentioned originally that the sale was to be completed “expeditiously,” and he definitely wasn’t kidding. There were less than 45 days between the announcement and the completed sale, meaning that probably both the sale was already in process, as well as many people were looking to get this process completed prior to the end of the fiscal quarter.
John Drake posted an announcement on the official forums thanking Viacom for their efforts in allowing Harmonix to work with some amazing artists. He also mentioned that Harmonix is returning to its roots in being an independent and privately owned game developer. In Viacom’s official announcement, they tell us that Harmonix has been sold to “Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Columbus Nova, LLC.”
What impact will this have on the suit Harmonix has leveled against Viacom? Not entirely sure, but I originally envisioned the suit as part of a ploy to leverage the unpaid bonus payment as capital towards an independent buy-out, which may or may not have actually played in to the transaction.
UPDATE 1: To those who may be concerned about the future of their Rock Band (and Dance Central) franchise, do not worry. Harmonix continues to own the rights to the franchises, and is free to make DLC and future sequels for each. News of this comes from MTV Multiplayer, a Viacom-owned company.
UPDATE 2: Gamasutra is reporting that a rep from Columbus Nova will not be inheriting the recent lawsuit. ”The lawsuit is driven by a group of former Harmonix shareholders, not Harmonix management, Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC or Columbus Nova,” he stated.