Reports emerged earlier this year that AT&T was looking to sell off Warner Bros.’ gaming division, Warner Bros. Interactive, with prospective buyers including Activision, Take-Two, and Microsoft. It looks like WB Interactive is no longer up for sale, with its parent company determining the growth potential made it far too valuable to get rid of. Bloomberg reports that this decision came after a saenior leadership shuffle at AT&T. Former CEO Randall Stephenson vacated the position, which was filled by Chief Operating Officer John Stankey in July. Stephenson retains a position on the board.
Interest in Warner Bros. Interactive could have fetched as much as $4 billion, according to reports from CNBC in June. The sources inside the company requested Bloomberg keep them anonymous because the information regarding the potential sale and now retraction was never meant to be public. Additional comments made last month seemed to indicate they would actually hold onto the video game side of the company, with this report now adding confirmation.
Warner Bros. Interactive has its hands in everything from mobile to console and PC development. Its subsidiaries include WB Montreal and its recently revealed Gotham Knights, as well as Rocksteady, who just showed off its new project, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. It also houses Mortal Kombat developer NetherRealm, Salt Lake City-based Avalanche Software (rumored to be working on a console Harry Potter RPG), Monolith, and LEGO developer TT Games. Much of its library includes licensed content owned by WB, including The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and DC Comics. Many of the questions surrounding the potential sale were about licensing the WB-owned content to the new owners.
One concern on the PlayStation side of things was seeing Microsoft’s reported interest, which had the potential to take a huge swath of great development studios and games into the Microsoft family. This new report indicates that should no longer be a concern. The irony of this entire transaction, from earlier reports to this one, is the fact that AT&T has remained silent publicly during the entire thing. Reports of both the sale as well as taking it off the table are all just that, internal potential transactions that did not end up panning out in any major way. It seems, for now at least, that the gaming industry status quo won’t have the major shakeup we once thought it might with this sale on the board.