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Relax, AT&T’s U-Turn Shuts EA, Activision Poaching WB Game Studios

Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:19 PM
Thomas Bardwell
Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:19 PM
  • Parent company AT&T is no longer looking to sell Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
  • CEO Jason Kilar confirmed as much, warning of ‘challenging’ times ahead.
  • Warner Media are reportedly planning to lay off 800 employees.

AT&T has axed plans to sell off the gaming division of Warner Bros.

Fans worried that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment studios, including NetherRealm and Rocksteady, will fall into EA and Activision’s hands – who were among the publishers eyeing up an acquisition – can rest easy. For now.

Warner Bros. IP going the way of micro-transaction ridden cash cows isn’t on the cards.

In an email sent to employees that details the shaking up of the ranks at Warner Media, CEO Jason Kilar confirmed that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment remains part of the company .

‘The Warner Bros. Motion Pictures Group continues to be led by Chairman Toby Emmerich. Warner Bros. Television Studios group continues to be led by Chairman Peter Roth. Warner Bros. Interactive remains part of the Studios and Networks group, along with our Global Brands and Franchises team including DC led by Pam Lifford, and our Kids, Young Adults and Classics business led by Tom Ascheim, all focused on engaging fans with our brands and franchises through games and other interactive experiences. ‘

Warner Bros.
WB studios are safe from EA and co. for the time being. | Source: Rocksteady/WB Games

Last month, it came to light that AT&T aimed to offload Warner Bros.’ gaming division  for a reported deal valued at $4 billion in an attempt to pay off a towering $200 billion debt. Major gaming publishers were among the interested suitors, including Take-Two Interactive, Microsoft, EA, and Activision Blizzard.

Warner Bros. Price Too High

While Kilar stopped short of clarifying what precipitated the change of heart, AT&T is seemingly opting for a vast restructuring as an alternative to an outright sale. Details of negotiations remain secret, but it isn’t unreasonable to speculate that interested parties may have gone cold on the idea due to the hefty asking price for WB. Interactive.

AT&T reportedly looking to obtain a commercial licensing agreement where it continued to receive revenue for the IP,  instead of passing on rights to the buyer, likely factored in as well.

Warner Bros.
Warner Media plans to lay off at least 800 employees as part of broad restructuring. | Source: WB Games

Kilar noted that the changes ushered in by the broad restructuring would be ‘challenging.’ Reports have already emerged that WarnerMedia plans to fire at least 800 employees .

The news doesn’t discount a sale in the future. For the time being, WB’s studios continue at the helm of IP, such as Harry Potter, LEGO, and DC Comics.