Telecommunications giant AT&T is considering selling its Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment gaming division for about $4 billion. This is according to CNBC, which cites its sources familiar with the matter. VentureBeat confirms the information but names a different price: $2 billion.
While no deal has been finalized as of now, Take-Two Interactive Software, Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard have reportedly expressed interest in purchasing WBIE. None of these companies offered comments.
WBIE’s studios include TT Games, Rocksteady Studios, NetherRealm Studios, Monolith Productions, WB Games Boston, Avalanche Software, Playdemic, WB Games Montreal, WB Games San Francisco, and WB Games San Diego.
The deal, if it does take place, will be in line with the general trend in Hollywood to distance itself from making games, opting instead to focus on the licensing side. However, it’s not entirely clear the sale will leave the licenses major WBIE’s games are based on. WBIE owns the Mortal Kombat and the Scribblenauts series. But it does not own the Harry Potter license, nor does it own the DC Comics IP used in the Batman Arkham and Injustice titles. In these instances, the IP holders might not approve a transfer of their licenses from Warner Bros. following the sale. It’s possible, according to CNBC, that a deal might involve a commercial licensing agreement where AT&T can continue to get revenue from its IP.