Infogrames

Infogrames

Infobox Company
company_name = Infogrames Entertainment SA
company_
company_type = Public euronext|IFG
foundation = June 1983
[now known as Atari]
location_city = Lyon
location_country =France
key_people = David Gardner, Chairman, CEO, and Chief Creative Officer
Phil Harrison, President Thomas Schmider, Chief Operating Officer
industry = Software & Programming
products = "Alone in the Dark"
"Unreal Tournament 2003"
"North & South"
RollerCoaster Tycoon
Civilization III
Test Drive
revenue = lossEUR €305.3 million (2007)
net_income = loss EUR red|€-103.1 million (2007) [ [http://corporate.infogrames.com/infogramesgb/2007/05/comptes_de_resultats.php Infogrames GB ] ]
homepage = [http://www.infogrames.com/ www.infogrames.com]
subsid = Atari, Inc, Atari Interactive

Infogrames Entertainment SA (IESA) (euronext|IFG) is an international holding company headquartered in Villeurbanne, Lyon, France. It owns 51.2 percent of Atari, Inc., headquartered in New York, N.Y., USA, and Atari Europe. It was founded in 1983 by Bruno Bonnell and Christophe Sapet using the proceeds from an introductory computer book. Through its subsidiaries, Infogrames produces, publishes and distributes interactive games for all major video game consoles and computer game platforms.

Early History

The founders wanted to christen the company "Zboub Système", but were dissuaded by their legal counsel words "informatique" (information technology) and "programme" (a computer program). The final choice, "Infogrames", was a slightly modified version of that suggestion, and is pronEng|ˌɪnfoʊˈgræmz in English.

The company logo is an armadillo ("tatou" in French), chosen when the company was moved to Villeurbanne. Bonnell commented: "This dinosaur [sic] is our symbol. The armadillo has always survived changes to its environment, from the melting of glaciers to the worst of heat waves."

In the late 1980s Infogrames was noted for its French computer games that often featured original game ideas and occasionally humorous content. They had acquired several licences for popular Franco-Belgian comics, such as Tintin, Asterix and Les Tuniques Bleues.

1996-2002 Growth Through Acquisition

In 1996, Bruno Bonnell's Infogrames embarked on an acquisition campaign that would last seven years and cost more than $500 million; the objective was to become the worlds leading interactive entertainment publisher [ [http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/02-16-2000/0001142857&EDATE= Infogrames Launches Infogrames.com ] ] . While the company's debt increased from $55 million in 1999 to $493 million in 2002, the company's revenue also increased from $246 million to $650 million during the same period. [http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/column_index.php?story=8636 Gamasutra - The Euro Vision: 'Bye-Bye Bruno' ] ]

In 1996 IESA bought Ocean Software for about $100 million [ [http://www.ukbusinesspark.co.uk/bpmerg96.htm Mergers & Acquisitions - UK News 1996 ] ] , renaming the company as "Infogrames UK". [http://www.mobygames.com/company/atari-uk-ltd MobyGames - Atari UK Ltd ] ] In 1997 Philips Media BV was purchased.

In 1998 IESA acquired a majority share of 62.5% in the game distributor "OziSoft", which became "Infogrames Australia", [http://www.atari.com.au/misc/faq.do Frequently Asked Questions - Atari Australia ] ] and in 2002 IESA bought the remaining shares of "Infogrames Australia" from Sega and other share holders [ [http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/business/soa/Ozisoft-becomes-Infogrames-Australia/0,139023166,120267724,00.htm Ozisoft becomes Infogrames Australia: News - Business - ZDNet Australia ] ] for $3.7 million. In this same year the distributors ABS Multimedia, Arcadia and the Swiss Gamecity GmbH were acquired. [ [http://www.claimexam.com/links/Done/accolade.htm Portail d'informations ] ] http://corporate.infogrames.com/uk/download/reports/infogrames_entertainment_annual_report_99_00.pdf]

In 1999 IESA bought Gremlin Interactive for $40 million, renaming it to "Infogrames Sheffield House" but closed it down in 2003 [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CGN/is_1999_March_25/ai_54207493 Infogrames Buys UK Games Company Gremlin | Computergram International | Find Articles at BNET.com ] ] . In the same year IESA also bought Accolade for $60 million [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CGN/is_1999_April_20/ai_54426666 France's Infogrames Grows in US With $60m Accolade Buy | Computergram International | Find Articles at BNET.com ] ] [ [http://www.islandnet.com/~kpolsson/vidgame/vid1999.htm Chronology of Video Game Systems (1999) ] ] and Beam Software, later renamed to "Infogrames Melbourne House Pty Ltd" [http://www.mobygames.com/company/krome-studios-melbourne MobyGames - Krome Studios Melbourne ] ] .

Acquisition of GT Interactive

Then in December 1999, IESA made one of the most expensive acquisitions in the company's history. Infogrames bought 70% of GT Interactive for $135 million, and assumed the new subsidiary's $75 million bank debt. By June 2000 Infogrames had invested another $30 million in GT Interactive [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE2D9133DF935A25752C1A96F958260 Infogrames Gets Control of GT Interactive - New York Times ] ] . IESA justified the purchase by stating that GT Interactive provided Infogrames with a "distribution network for all of its products in the United States, as well as a catalog of products that includes Driver, Oddworld, Unreal Tournament and Deer Hunter".

Included in the GT Interactive purchase were the game development studios Humongous Entertainment [ [http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/GT-Interactive-Software-Company-History.html GT Interactive Software - Company History ] ] , Legend Entertainment [ [http://www.amazon.com/dp/1592004938 Amazon.com: Game Design, Second Edition: Bob Bates: Books ] ] and Reflections Interactive. [ [http://www.atnewyork.com/news/article.php/249211 Gt Interactive Hires Disney Honcho, Raises Cash ] ]

GT Interactive became Infogrames, Inc. [http://corporate.infogrames.com/MT-3.34-en/mt-static/FCKeditor/UserFiles/File/DOCDEREF05_06GB.pdf Microsoft Word - couverture_GB.doc ] ]

In 2000 the developer Paradigm Entertainment was bought for $19.5 million and in-flight games developer Den-o-Tech Int. (DTI) , later renamed to "Infogrames DTI", was also acquired for $5.6 million.

Acquisition of Hasbro Interactive

In January 2001, IESA purchased Hasbro Interactive and the handheld game console "Game.com" from Hasbro for $100 million; with $95 million as 4.5 million common shares of Infogrames and $5 million in cash. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F00E4DC1E3FF933A05752C0A9679C8B63&n=Top/News/Business/Companies/Hasbro%20Inc. Company News; Hasbro Completes Sale Of Interactive Business - New York Times ] ] [http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=68329&p=irol-newsArticle_Print&ID=137281&highlight= Press Release ] ]

With the acquisition of Hasbro Interactive, which was renamed as Infogrames Interactive, Inc, [http://www.allgame.com/cg/agg.dll?p=agg&sql=3:23597 allgame ((( Atari Interactive, Inc. > Overview ))) ] ] [ [http://www.faqs.org/faqs/atari-8-bit/faq/section-85.html 11.2) What is the History of Atari? ] ] IESA became the owner of:

*The MicroProse brand and titles, including Civilization, Falcon, and RollerCoaster Tycoon;
*The legendary Atari name and properties, such as "Centipede", "Missile Command", and "Pong".

Also under the terms of the sale agreement, Infogrames gained the exclusive rights to develop and publish games based on Hasbro properties, which included Dungeons and Dragons, Mr. Potato Head, My Little Pony and others, for a period of 15 years plus an option for an additional 5 years based on performance.

Eden Games and Shiny Entertainment

In 2002 IESA acquired the remaining 80% of game development studio Eden Games [ [http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/driving/vrally3/news.html?sid=2860904 Infogrames buys Eden Studios - PlayStation 2 News at GameSpot ] ] for $4.1 million and Shiny Entertainment for $47 million. With the Shiny Entertainment acquisition, IESA obtained the rights to develop and publish Enter the Matrix which was the first game based on The Matrix films and sold more than 5 million copies. [ [http://pc.gamezone.com/news/04_25_02_01_49PM.htm Infogrames Acquires both Shiny Entertainment and Exclusive Matrix License - PC News ] ]

Atari Group

In October 2001, IESA relaunched the Atari brand when Atari Interactive, Inc., at that time a wholly owned subsidiary of Infogrames Interactive, Inc., released "MXrider" [http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/05/07/infogrames_rechristens_itself_atari/] . On May 7, 2003, IESA officially reorganized its Infogrames Inc. [ [http://www.secinfo.com/dsvr4.28Z7.htm SEC Info - Atari Inc - 10-KT - For 3/31/03 ] ] US subsidiary as a separate Nasdaq listed company known as Atari Inc., named its European operations as Atari Europe, renamed Infogrames Interactive, Inc. to Atari Interactive, Inc., (a wholly-owned subsidiary of IESA) [http://biz.yahoo.com/e/070918/atar10-k.html Summary of ATARI INC - Yahoo! Finance ] ] , rebranded Infogrames Australia Pty Ltd as Atari Australia Pty Ltd , renamed Infogrames Melbourne House Pty Ltd to Atari Melbourne House Pty Ltd , Infogrames UK became Atari UK, while IESA became a holding company [ [http://corporate.infogrames.com/infogramesgb/2007/04/atari.php Infogrames GB ] ] .

Atari Inc. is a public company that, as of 2007, has as majority stockholder the company California U.S. Holdings, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of IESA. [http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/071008/nym115.html?.v=80] Atari Inc. licences the "Atari" trademark from Atari Interactive, Inc., a license which will expire in 2013.
Atari Inc. has the rights to publish and sublicense in North America certain intellectual properties either owned or licensed by IESA or its subsidiaries, including Atari Interactive, Inc.

Financial Difficulties

In the fiscal year of 2002 IESA had a net loss of $67 million on revenues of $650 million, and in 2003 the net losses increased to $89 million.In 2006 IESA reported a net loss of $201 million on revenues of $525 million, and debts of around $290 million. From 1999 to 2006 IESA accumulated losses totaling €500 million.

In 2004 Infogrames sold the rights to the "Civilization" franchise to Take-Two Interactive for $22.3 million [ [http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/civilizationiv/news.html?sid=6117117 Take-Two takes over Civilization - PC News at GameSpot ] ] and closed down Legend Entertainment [ [http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/unrealiise/news_6086665.html Atari closes Legend Entertainment - PC News at GameSpot ] ] studios. In June 2005, Infogrames sold back to Hasbro the digital rights to all Hasbro properties including The Transformers, My Little Pony and Connect Four for $65 million. [ [http://www.gamespot.com/news/6127273.html Atari locks down D&D; Hasbro buys back Transformers - PC News at GameSpot ] ]

On April 2006 Infogrames' founding chairman Bruno Bonnell left the company after 24 years; on the day of the announcement of his departure IESA's shares jumped 24%. [ [http://www.reuters.com/article/technology-media-telco-SP/idUSL052812320070405 Infogrames shares shine after chairman leaves | Reuters ] ] After his resignation, Infogrames through the remainder of 2006 sold intellectual properties and some studios in order to raise cash and stave off the threat of bankruptcy. [ [http://www.gamedaily.com/articles/features/atari-to-sell-off-studios-in-turnaround-attempt/68582/ Video Game Features, PC Game Features ] ]

In May 2006 IESA sold the rights to the games Stuntman to THQ and Timeshift to Saber Interactive. The sales generated $13 million in revenue. THQ also bought developer Paradigm Entertainment from IESA [ [http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=16870 THQ buys Paradigm and Stuntman // News // GamesIndustry.biz ] ] . In July 2006 IESA sold the game developer Reflections Interactive and the rights to the Driver franchise for $21.6 million to Ubisoft. [http://www.gamespot.com/news/6161434.html Cost-cutting puts Atari in black-barely - Xbox 360 News at GameSpot ] ] In October, Shiny Entertainment was acquired by Foundation 9 Entertainment for $1.6 million. [ [http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=11093 Foundation 9 Acquires Shiny From Atari] , "GamaSutra", October 2, 2006] In November of the same year Atari Melbourne House was sold to Krome Studios and renamed to Krome Studios Melbourne.

In 2007 Infogrames fired the majority of Atari's directors and laid off 20% of its workforce. For the 2006-2007 fiscal year Atari posted a net loss of $70 million. [ [http://www.gamespot.com/news/6180598.html Infogrames overhauls Atari's board - News at GameSpot ] ]

On March 6, 2008, Infogrames made an offer to Atari Inc. to buy out all remaining public shares for a value of US$1.68 per share or US$11 million total. The offer would make Infogrames sole owner of Atari Inc., making it a privately held company. http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/080306/nyth121.html?.v=101]

On April 30, 2008, Atari Inc. announced its intentions to accept Infogrames' buyout offer and merge with Infogrames. http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/080430/nyw164.html?.v=1]

References

ee also

* [http://www.crystalsquid.com/ Crystal Squid] Indie game developer started by ex Infogrames employees.
*Moonpod [http://www.moonpod.com/] Indie game developer started by ex Infogrames employees.
*Sumo Digital [http://www.sumo-digital.com/] software development company started by ex Infogrames employees.
*History of computer and video game companies
*http://corporate.infogrames.com/IESA/pressreleases_story.html?sid=783

External links

* [http://www.mobygames.com/company/atari-inc "Atari"] profile on MobyGames


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Infogrames — Entertainment SA Acrónimo IESA Fundación 1983 Fundador(es) Bruno Bonnell y Christophe Sapet Sede París …   Wikipedia Español

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