Parent of troubled Alone in the Dark publisher makes offer to buy back all publicly held stock for $1.68.
It has been a busy week for Atari. On Monday, the New York-based publisher made headlines when its parent company, French publisher Infogrames SA, announced it had hired former Sony Worldwide Studios president Phil Harrison to be its president and director general. While rumored, the move came as a shock, given Atari's dire financial straits.
As the West Coast business day wound down on Thursday, Atari surprised the industry again. The Alone in the Dark publisher announced that it had "received a letter from Infogrames Entertainment SA, Atari, Inc.'s majority shareholder, regarding IESA's non-binding expression of intent to acquire the outstanding common stock of Atari, Inc. not owned by IESA and its affiliates." The offer would pay owners of the stock a $0.02 premium on the $1.66 price it closed at on the NASDAQ market on Thursday.
If successful, Infogrames' move would spare Atari the ignominy of being delisted from the NASDAQ, which it has been repeatedly threatened with. It would also take the company private, allowing major, company-wide decisions to be made more quickly and easily than in a publicly traded entity.
However, while the buyout is likely to be approved by Atari's board, given the fact that Infogrames essentially controls the company, it is not guaranteed. "The offer is non-binding and there is no assurance that any transaction will occur," Atari warned in a statement.
Hmm. Well hopefully the Atari name has a huge turn around. If it does, you can't even sit there and not give credit to Phil. Atari wouldn't turn itself around in a huge way unless there was somebody working with them. I think Phil can do it. He's done a lot for Sony, a lot more hands on stuff then most people realize. So what have Atari got lined up for the future anyway? Besides Alone in the Dark (360/PS3/PC/PS2/Wii), what's out there? Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit (360/PS3), N+ (PSP/DS), Field Ops (PC), Driver 5 (PS3), Dungeons & Dragons Online: Forsaken Land (PC)? There's really not much out there. I hope Phil can turn this place around, but they're gonna need a damn miracle for it to work out. It's not like that had much last year either, but it's a lot better then what they have lined up for this year.
They have no choice. They're on the very brink of being forcibly delisted by the NASDAQ. When that happens to a company it's a huge turn-off for investors current and future, and a costly endeavor to turn the company's fortunes around fast enough to meet the NASDAQ's grace period on fees. This way they can retreat to private holding, release a tiny line-up of sure bets, and a couple of quarters later they'll re-offer and tier stock back to public trading.
@lowkey254: you forget that this isnt the same Atari as the Atari console days, this is just the shadow of that Atari, just the name, that's all. This is just whats left of GT Interactive.
@ thextreme1 That's exactly the reason Atari might be delisted. Their entire future depends on the success of a game that may, despite being potentially good, fail. Just think about how many great games have not done well financially (Psychonauts, anyone). If AITD fails, Atari really doesn't have a whole lot left to stand on. I admit, it's a gamble to sellout now on both parties' ends, but doing so now is the less risky approach and with all the risks that have backfired at Atari, I certainly understand it.
@chrisda Atari is the grandfather of all games. back in their console days you really couldn't tell what was terrible because it was only them and like one other company that had gone out of business. I agree that I wouldn't buy their stock right now but the rest of your comment is just garbage.
i would never buy atari stock, in my view, atari was never good, atari games are terrible, every since their console days
This sucks. I was actually going to buy $20,000 worth of Atari stock this summer after the announcement that they brought Phil Harrison on board because I knew it would mean a big turnaround for the company. Totally bogus deal for Atari stock holders. I dont understand how they think the stock would be delisted, it would have to go under that $1 mark and with Alone In The Dark coming in a few short months, I dont see how it could ever go back below $1. I imagine that AITD is going to be huge.
maybe this is cheaper for Infogrames than simply closing Atari down? Rather than deal with legal challenges and trying to sell off franchises and past licenses.
Atari is looking to revolutionize the gaming industry again. Phil Harrison would never have taken that job if he hadn't seen real potential there. The slumbering giant is going to awaken again and take the gaming world by storm. If they have plans on internet gaming, watch out. With Phil at the helm there will be a lot of major things happening.
Sounds like a good opportunity for Atari short their having a uber secret game that is just days away from an unknown debut that will break all records. So like I was saying it sounds like a good thing for Atari.
I like it. Get a new head who has a lot of successful experience and privatize the company so that he can be given more efficient control over it. He could remodel Atari's business structure and breathe new life into it. It will take some time and work, but if the interest and talent is there, they can do it. It would be nice to see Atari rise again (even if it's not really the same company it was in the 80s).
Good there was no reason for them to be public, it was not helping them anyways and most of their products are not very appealing.
Zaradis. you do realize that when a company buys back its stock and takes it private, you cannot invest in that company anymore right?
I think I'm going to invest around 2-3k into Atari now. At $1.66 a share (even if it's $1.68 ) and through the magic of Phil's visions and help...within 5 years he'll have that place turned right around, and could have it's stock price head into double digits. Not a get rich quick thing but given what Phil was able to do with Sony it's hard to not envision similar events happening with Atari, and they can only go up now. Buy buy buy!!
Wow... I guess it would be worth it to keep atari from being delisted... although I'm not clear that the brand name is worth keeping alive anymore at this point.
@ Zoomer30 - Phil Harrison is a gluten for punishment? LOL. Maybe now Phil has left Sony they are now GLUTEN FREE . zing!
This isn't even Atari. Atari closed and sold its name and brands. Atari of old days has nothing to do with the Atari of today so I don't really care what happens to them.
It seems to me like this change in strategy coming so soon after Harrison's hiring is no coincidence. I don't pretend to know what Harrison may be thinking, all I know is that I have faith that he will do everything in his power to restore Atari. I have great hopes for the future of such a historic gaming company, and if going private helps that rise then I say go for it.
I'm like a lot of you, I'd like to see them rebound as well, and if being privately owned will keep the heartless mega-conglomerates away, I'm all for it. Hard times for a lot of companies out there, it seems. The fact that Atari has managed to hang in there this long despite really says something. I'm hopeful, but a little pessimistic about it.
Phil should have stayed at Sony and milked it for all its worth. I mean its like a NASCAR team pulling its car off the track for no reason at the Daytona 500 just when they get in the lead. Makes no sense. He must like a no win situation challenge or be a gluten for punishement, hes gonna get a lot of that at Atari, the place has not done anything "big" since the 2600.
Atari is a decent company, who needs to focus on getting back publishing agreements. Unreal was significantly more popular under them.
Good. The only way for a game publisher to thrive these days is to go private so that EA won't gobble you up later. Not that anyone would buy Atari right now, but if it ever became successful then I am sure EA would do it.
Yes you are right Lordspleach I don't really like Arti I did not really like it when I was young either.
I dunno about you guys, but 8im feelig like atari's gonna start a come back sooner or later. They seem to be making a whole bunch of drastic new moves. Lets hope it pays off
Alone in the Dark looks interesting, hope its good and can be a sign of good games coming from atari in the future.
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