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Bonnell: Atari Planning Studio, IP Sell-Off
Bonnell: Atari Planning Studio, IP Sell-Off
February 17, 2006 | By David Jenkins

February 17, 2006 | By David Jenkins
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Following a series of disappointing financial results, Infogrames and Atari CEO Bruno Bonnell has confided to British trade paper MCV that the company intends to sell of the U.S. Atari division's internal studios, alongside a number of intellectual properties, and begin a significant restructuring of its U.S. division.

The company reported a net loss of $4.8 million in its most recent financial report, and has since had CFO Diane Baker leave the company after less than a month in the position. The company has also seen its credit line to HSBC halted after defaulting on financial covenants and most recently hit the headlines after missing the deadline for its SEC filings.

In the interview with MCV, though, Bonnell was adamant that the company would manage a turnaround. “Ahead of all this, we had decided in December that we should refocus our creativity efforts on external studios, rather than internal development,” he said. “We will be looking to sell our studios, but that doesn’t mean that we’re immediately putting a ‘For Sale’ sign on them. They still have important projects to finish for us.”

Atari owns a number of high profile studios including British developer Reflections (now working on Driver 4); Australian studio Melbourne House (working on current generation Test Drive titles); Dallas, Texas based Paradigm (working on Stuntman 2 and Battlezone); Steve Perry’s Shiny Studios (currently working on an undisclosed project and new versions of Earthworm Jim – a fact apparently first revealed in the MCV interview); and French studio Eden Studios, who is currently working on next generation iterations of the Test Drive franchise.

Although Bonnell made a vague reference to selling off “some” intellectual properties, none were named – although the company’s assets include the likes of the Driver franchise, Alone in the Dark, Test Drive and Total Annihilation. Bonnell did indicate that redundancies were likely in the U.S., though, saying: “We have about 250 staff in the US. And that is too many. There has to be some adjustment. There will be none in Europe, though. They’ve had their pain already.”


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