Viacom to sell Rock Band creators Harmonix

We’re expecting more details soon, but in a conference call today, Viacom have announced that they are selling Rock Band creator Harmonix.

They explain that the unit is “unprofitable”, despite collecting third-party royalties from the Guitar Hero franchise, and are already in talks with several potential buyers for the developer. Last year, Viacom recorded a $230 million “goodwill impairment charge” for Harmonix, and significantly wrote down assets for the Rock Band franchise.

Harmonix founders Eran Egozy (left) and Alex Rigopulos

Harmonix founders Eran Egozy (left) and Alex Rigopulos at their offices

Viacom Chief Executive Officer Philippe Dauman explains that while the company’s core cable networks are “on a hot streak”, they’re bowing gracefully out of the games industry:

“Our decision to exit this business reflects our strategy of focusing entirely on what we do best. The console games business requires expertise and scale we don’t have.”

Harmonix cost $175 million when it was acquired in September 2006, and has already been considered a “discontinued operation”, losing about $65 million over the last quarter.


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