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Warner Bros. is only bidder for Midway Games

June 26, 2009 |  2:31 pm

WarnerMortalKombat

Can Warner Bros. find gold in Sumner Redstone's mud?

As The Times' tech blog reports, the studio has emerged as the sole bidder for Midway Games, all but guaranteeing its $33 million offer for the bankrupt publisher of titles including "Mortal Kombat" will soon go through. Midway had been controlled by Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone until last November, when he sold it at a huge loss to a private investor in exchange for a controversial tax benefit.

Buying Midway would significantly expand the scope of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the studio's growing video game division. Warner has acquired three game development studios in the past few years and hired industry veteran Martin Tremblay to run the video game unit. It also made an unsuccessful attempt to purchase Eidos, the British publisher of "Tomb Raider" video games.

The most immediate effect of the deal would be that Warner would be able to publish games currently in development at Midway. That includes a new "Mortal Kombat" fighting title and another called "This Is Vegas" set in Sin City. The studio would also gain control of Midway's intellectual property, which includes a number of well known but dormant series like "Joust" and "Spy Hunter" along with "Mortal Kombat." It could not only release new games based on them, but also adapt them for film and television. Warner would also take possession of Midway's development studios in Chicago and Seattle.

As The Times' tech blog explains, there are still several legal hoops Warner and Midway would have to jump through in bankruptcy court before the acquisition can officially close. They include objections to the deal terms from Vin Diesel, whose production company claims it is owed $200,000 by Midway for a game in which he starred, and Larry Kasanoff, producer of the two "Mortal Kombat" movies.

-- Ben Fritz

Photos: Warner Bros. logo. "Mortal Kombat Armageddon." Credit: Midway Games

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