The planned sale of Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment has been called off, with parent company AT&T deeming its video game business too valuable to offload.
The news comes via Bloomberg, who spoke to sources familiar with the situation, who say that AT&T has removed its video game division from its list of noncore assets up for sale. The company – who’s output includes titles like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Mortal Kombat 11, had attracted significant interest from several major companies, and its sale could have reaped $4 billion.
However, according to the report, AT&T closed the sale due to the business’s growth potential.
The initial reports that Warner Bros Interactive could be up for sale surface back in June, with Microsoft, Take-Two, Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard listed as potential suitors.
The decision to cancel the sale may be due to a leadership turnover at AT&T. Chief Operating Officer John Stankey took over as chief executive officer back in July, when Randall Stephenson left that role, but remained chairman.
Another element may have been the upcoming release of a Harry Potter RPG, which is still in development. Given the increased revenue for gaming businesses during the pandemic, being able to release a high-budget title linked to an IP as huge as Harry Potter must have been a factor in the decision.
Also, as the Bloomberg article points out, it may have been the fact that the sale of Warner Bros Interactive may have been more complicated than initially thought. Given the amount of licensed content involved in the games, any deal would come with a set of long-term strings attached.