Infogrames concludes Atari acquisition

Alone in the Dark publisher closes $11 million buyout of US subsidiary.

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The Tokyo Game Show and BlizzCon 2008 created a news tidal wave over the weekend, deluging the wires with information on Halo 3: Recon, the PSP's online connectivity, and Starcraft II. Buried underneath that crush was news concerning Infogrames and its partially owned subsidiary, Atari. Namely, the France-based publisher said on Thursday that it had completed its purchase of Atari, an acquisition that was first announced in May.

Infogrames, which had previously held a 51 percent stake in its New York-based subsidiary, will purchase all outstanding stock for $1.68 per share, in a transaction valued at $11 million. Atari's management, led by former Sony BMG defector Jim Wilson, will stay onboard with Infogrames and maintain the company's focus on growing Infogrames' presence in North America.

As outlined in Infogrames' announcement of the merger completion, bringing Atari into the fold is one of the primary bullet points on the publisher's road to recovery. Other initiatives include cutting general and administrative expenses, finding and creating new US distribution partnerships, and undertaking a shift in focus to online gaming.

"The completion of this merger is an important step in the implementation of our strategy," said Infogrames CEO David Gardner in a statement. "Reshaping US operations was a key element of our 'Atari transformation' plan. Profitable first-quarter results were reached thanks to the tremendous work accomplished by Jim and his team. The completion of the merger creates a simplified, efficient global structure that we anticipate will generate greater opportunities to expand US distribution capabilities and strengthen our platform for global online initiatives."

Thus far, it appears as if Infogrames' efforts are yielding positive results. In July, the publisher reported €90.1 million ($123 million) in revenue for the three-month period ended June 30. That's a dramatic 80 percent year-over-year rise, and was attributed to the successful launch of Eden Studios' survival-horror action adventure Alone in the Dark.

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