Microsoft eyes Warner Bros. Interactive acquisition

Would include studios behind Batman, Mortal Kombat, Lego.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment – owner of studios such as Rocksteady and NetherRealm – has a new suitor in its possible sale: Microsoft.

Last month, WBIE owner AT&T was reported to be seeking a sale of Warner’s huge gaming division for around $4bn (£3.1bn) in a bid to reduce company debts of $165bn (£131bn).

Take-Two, Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard all initially expressed interest, but no deal was thought imminent.

Last night, a new report from The Information stated Microsoft was also now eyeing up a purchase, according to sources at the company.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is a huge enterprise, with more than a dozen studios located in the US and UK.

Among them are Rocksteady (Batman Arkham and now Suicide Squad), NetherRealm (Mortal Kombat), TT Games (Lego), Monolith (Shadow of Mordor), Avalanche (the upcoming Harry Potter game) and WB Games Montreal (Arkham Oranges).

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Warner Bros.’ various video game licenses for the DC Comics, Lego, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings franchises, plus top drawer studio talent, would make the company an enticing prospect for any potential purchaser.

The added draw for Microsoft, of course, would be the ability to make any of these games exclusive to Xbox – although it has continued to publish Minecraft and other titles on PlayStation following acquisitions elsewhere.

And while $4bn is certainly not pocket change, Microsoft could certainly afford WBIE’s price tag thanks to its own enormous war chest. Six years ago, the company famously paid $2.5bn to acquire Minecraft maker Mojang.

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