Midway sale approval expected next week

Bankrupt publisher says court hearing next week should clear the way for Warner Bros. acquisition; competing bids accepted through June 24.

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Although the eyes of the industry are already fixed on the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, the week's biggest industry-reshaping news could potentially be coming from a Delaware bankruptcy court. That's where Midway Games said today that it expects to receive court approval for the proposed sale of most of its assets to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for a sum of $33 million.

All this could be yours, if the price is right.
All this could be yours, if the price is right.

Originally revealed last week, the WBIE offer would give the Lord of the Rings rights-holder another flagship property in the Mortal Kombat fighting franchise, as well as the Wheelman brand. However, that offer did not include Midway's Newcastle (UK) and San Diego studios or the TNA Impact wrestling license.

Even if the WBIE bid receives court approval, the acquisition would not be a forgone conclusion. Other companies can make bids for any portion of the company through June 24. That will be followed by an auction on June 29 to determine the bid or combination of bids that will bring in the most money, after which a July 1 hearing will give court approval to those transactions.

In its announcement confirming the June 2 hearing on the WBIE bid, Midway made a hard sell to potential bidders, touting the strength of not just Mortal Kombat but its fledgling properties such as the TNA Wrestling license, Wheelman, This Is Vegas, and Game Party. Looking further back, the publisher also emphasized its rich history of arcade hits, including Spy Hunter, Rampage, Joust, and Gauntlet.

Regardless of which offer (or combination of offers) is ultimately accepted, the buyer(s) would not assume any debt or liabilities of Midway, or become entangled in the legal actions surrounding the publisher's deeply discounted sale to a mystery buyer last year.

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