Unnamed sources have stated Viacom sold Rock Band developer Harmonix to investment firm Columbus Nova for $49.99, plus a few extras like CN assuming all of the studios liabilities (for things like music right fees, unsold games and plastic instruments, etc.). It is also rumored that the deal was structured in a way to let Viacom claim around $150m in tax benefits.
Considering the horrible investment that Harmonix turned out to be, it sounds like Viacom was able to recoup a lot of their losses.
“We’re excited to be returning to our roots as an independent and privately owned studio. As for what it means for you, the DLC schedule marches on for Rock Band, we will continue our support of previously released titles and we’re hard at work on some unannounced projects that we think you’re going to be pumped about.” – Harmonix statement
Sounds like Columbus Nova is planning to hold onto Harmonix and run them as an independent studio. Read the full statement here.
Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) announced today that it has sold Harmonix Music Systems to Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Columbus Nova, LLC. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Viacom announced its intention to sell Harmonix, the leading maker of music-based games including the Rock Band music video game franchise, in November.
Cambridge, Mass. – Dec. 23, 2010 – Harmonix and MTV Games today announced that a four pack of songs from Paul McCartney, as well as singles from Inhabited and Siouxsie and The Banshees will be available Dec. 28 in the Rock Band 3 Music Store of downloadable content for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Wii™.
“Viacom fulfilled its contractual obligations and our actions were completely appropriate and consistent with the terms of our agreement with Harmonix shareholders and the interests of our shareholders… Mr. Winshall made a decision to spurn our early proposals, which were highly favorable to the stockholders he represented. He failed to get the unjustified windfall he hoped for and as a result damaged those shareholders, who are obligated to repay amounts already received. Having failed in his game, he is attempting to rewrite the contract and history with false and irrelevant claims, no doubt to protect himself from the very unhappy stockholders he represents.” – Viacom statement
Former shareholders of Rock Band developer Harmonix last week filed a U.S. lawsuit against parent company Viacom, accusing the media giant of trying to scheme its way out of paying performance-based bonuses. The ex-shareholders group — which includes Harmonix founders such as Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy, as well as other early funders of the Boston-based developer — is accusing Viacom of manipulating costs after the massive initial success of Rock Band to avoid a potentially giant earn-out payment.
Cambridge, Mass. – Dec. 20, 2010 – Harmonix and MTV Games today announced that songs from Blur, Rihanna and Janet Jackson will be available Dec. 21 for download on Xbox LIVE® for Dance Central™, the first controller-free, body-tracking, fully immersive dance video game, exclusively for Kinect™ for Xbox 360®.
Free from any controller, Dance Central™, the top selling game for Kinect, features fun choreography and authentic routines for beginners and experts alike of all ages to master, alongside a killer 32-song soundtrack that spans a great sampling of pop, funk, hip-hop, Latin and R&B artists, including Cascada, Kool & The Gang, Kylie Minogue, Salt-N-Pepa, Nelly Furtado, Christina Milian and more. To view the full Dance Central set list plus add-on content already available, click here.