Media giant explains motivations for sell-off; says studio sale will be quick

‘Harmonix is worth more to third-parties’ – Viacom

In its investor Q&A today Viacom admitted that the potential buyers looking to acquire Harmonix place a higher value on the studio than the media giant does.

Earlier today Viacom said it would sell the creator of Rock Band, Guitar Hero and Dance Central off after an earnings dip.

In its financial report it has reclassified the studio as a ‘discontinued operation’ and attributed it with a $299m loss.

But that figure only reflects "how we’ve been informed by the potential buyers we’ve been talking to," the firms said after announcing the sale. If it wasn’t selling the unit off, the valuation would be half that.

Viacom reps said that "third parties have a different economic view of Harmonix. It will be worth more to them than it is to us."

Essentially, that means that as part of a big media empire like Viacom, Harmonix seems like a small fish – but as part of a pure games publisher it will shine.

And the sale will come quickly, with the firm adding that it expects the move to be "completed expeditiously".
The question, of course, is who will be the ultimate owner of Harmonix? There are a number of potential likely and unlikely candidates.

Certainly, the studio Harmonix’s new owners will end up with is capable of turning out hit after hit – it didn’t just build the entire music category through the creation of Guitar Hero and development of rival brand Rock Band, but this week took it in new directions with the release of Dance Central for Kinect.

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