Warner Bros. emerges as sole bidder for Midway Games
Times up! The deadline for submitting bids to buy Midway Games passed Wednesday afternoon with just one offer -- a $33-million deal from Warner Bros. to purchase most of the bankrupt Chicago company's assets.
After Warner Bros. lobbed its offer in May, Midway had hoped to spark a bidding war that would jack up the price. A Chicago investment group and several game publishers had been kicking the tires at Midway, according to a source familiar with the discussions. But none pulled the trigger on a deal.
"No other bids came in, so there's not going to be an auction," confirmed Midway's spokesman, Geoff Mogilner.
Before the deal goes through, the Delaware court overseeing Midway's bankruptcy will have to resolve complaints by several creditors about the acquisition process. One of those is producer Larry Kasanoff's Threshold Entertainment, which produced two previous "Mortal Kombat" films and claims it has exclusive big-screen and TV rights to the series. Also objecting to the sales process is Tigon Studios, a production company controlled by Vin Diesel, which claims it is owed $200,000 for the star's work on the recently released game "Wheelman."
The next court hearing to address those and other issues will be July 1. As soon as they are resolved and the bankruptcy court officially approves Warner Bros.' bid, the acquisition will close 10 days later, Mogilner said.
Warner Bros. declined to comment. An acquisition would buttress Warner's growing game portfolio, according to a report today in the Times.
The offer includes most, though not all, of Midway's assets, including the company's Mortal Kombat, Spy Hunter, Joust and Wheelman franchises. It also includes two of Midway's four development studios -- one in Chicago and another in Seattle. It remains unclear what will happen to the company's studio in Newcastle, U.K., which makes the Wheelman games, and its studio in San Diego, which is developing a wrestling game based on a license with TNA Entertainment. Those assets could potentially be sold to another buyer.
-- Ben Fritz and Alex Pham