Posts Tagged ‘sale’
Remember all the knuckleheads (excuse my language) on message boards, forums, and Twitter who said “Harmonix was sold for only $50? I could have bought them!” As I originally stated in the initial announcement, this “$50 price tag” did not include the tax benefit realized by Viacom, as well as the relief of all related outstanding liabilities. The wording of the sale per the contract probably states something to the effect of “$50 and other valuable consideration.” Fundamental principles of contract law require each of the parties to exchange something of value, and there can be no enforceable agreement without that exchange, so the arbitrary amount of $50 was chosen.
In Viacom’s latest quarterly financial statement, we now know how much the tax benefit was for Viacom. According to their 10-Q statement:
“For tax purposes, the disposal generated a tax benefit of approximately $115 million, of which approximately $45 million is expected to be realized as a cash refund of taxes previously paid on capital gains and the remaining $70 million benefit will be available to offset qualifying future cash taxes.”
So I guess the revised price tag that responsible journalists would now report is that the price tag for Harmonix was $115,000,050. And even that is lowballing it, too. This new price tag doesn’t include the value of outstanding liabilities that Viacom offloaded as well, which are difficult to estimate, but one could only assume are also significant.
I haven’t seen any announcement come through from any source, but it appears that Rush’s “Moving Pictures” and The Cars’ self titled debut “The Cars” albums are currently on sale over on Xbox.com.
“Moving Pictures” is typically priced 880 MSP ($10.99), but is currently marked down to 440 MSP ($5.50), and contains the following songs:
- The Camera Eye
- Limelight (Original Version)
- Red Barchetta
- Tom Sawyer (Original Version)
- Vital Signs
- Witch Hunt
“The Cars” is typically priced 1,200 MSP ($14.99), but is currently marked down to 680 MSP ($8.50), and contains the following songs:
- All Mixed Up
- Bye Bye Love
- Don’t Cha Stop
- Good Times Roll
- I’m in Touch with Your World
- Just What I Needed
- Moving in Stereo
- My Best Friend’s Girl
- You’re All I’ve Got Tonight
Update 1: Looks like there are quite a bit more packs that are also on sale…
Update 2: Official word from Rock Band now explains the sale, which runs through January 11th on the Xbox 360, and from January 11th through January 25th for the PS3.
Nine Inch Nails Pack 01 – 240 MSP
- March of the Pigs
- The Collector
- The Perfect Drug
Oasis Pack 01 – 240 MSP
- Don’t Look Back in Anger
- Live Forever
Weezer Pack 02 – 240 MSP
- My Name Is Jonas
- Pork and Beans
- Undone (The Sweater Song)
Evanescence Pack 01 – 240 MSP
- Bring Me to Life
- Call Me When You’re Sober
- Weight of the World
The Police Pack 01 – 240 MSP
- Can’t Stand Losing You
- Synchronicity II
Jimmy Buffet Pack 01 – 240 MSP
- Cheeseburger in Paradise
All That Remains Pack 01 – 240 MSP
- This Calling
- Two Weeks
If you’re interested, I wouldn’t wait too long. Unexplained discounts like these usually don’t last too long.
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.
In a recent discussion with financial news outfit Bloomberg, EA’s CEO John Riccitiello was talking about trying to catch up to their biggest competitor Activision through carefully thought out acquisitions. John mentioned this:
There are probably 25 companies on our radar that would make sense for us at somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of the asking price.
He went to explain that he’s interested in deals that add technology, capability, and intellectual property without identifying potential targets. With Harmonix looking for a new home, the potential for a EA-owned Rock Band franchise was brought up. John commented:
I’m sure some smart investor will buy the business feeling that they can catch a falling knife, but more people have been cut trying to catch falling knives than have benefitted from getting the timing exactly right.
Looks like Black Friday sales this week also are happening on the Xbox 360, as well. If for some reason you haven’t snatched up these very popular track packs, I HIGHLY recommend you do that now!
- Nirvana Pack 01 – 880 MSP 640 MSP
- “Lounge Act”
- “On a Plain”
- “Something In the Way”
- “Stay Away”
- “Territorial Pissings”
- Nirvana Pack 02 – 440 MSP 240 MSP
- “Come As You Are (Live from MTV Unplugged)”
- “Lithium (Live from Reading)”
- “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
- Lady Gaga Pack 01 – 560 MSP 280 MSP
- “Poker Face”
- “Bad Romance”
- “Just Dance”
If you’ve been living in a cave the past week, you may have missed that news the Harmonix’s corporate parent Viacom announced it will be selling our favorite video game developer. In the past few weeks, Harmonix has released not one but two games to very high critical praise, Rock Band 3 and Dance Central. While some of their detractors tried to point out the causality for the sale was the flop of Rock Band 3, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Harmonix has been quietly shopped around since September, well before either game was released.
The Wall Street Journal also gives us word that Viacom is now in talks with as many as four different videogame companies and private-equity firms to host an auction for Harmonix, according to people familiar with the matter. No word yet on who they may be, but as soon as further developments arise, they will be posted here.