News hit the wires recently regarding Atari US’s bankruptcy filing (under chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code), with the aim of separating itself from “the structural financial encumbrances” of French parent company, Atari S.A. (formerly Infogrames S.A.) and striking off on its own to focus on the development of mobile and digitally distributed games, while making use of independently generated capital.
In the process, Atari US hopes to sell off its assets including the iconic Atari logo, as well as the rights to Pong, Asteroids, Missile Command and other classic franchises. Alternatively, Atari US is seeking to reorganise the company to gain financial independence.
Atari US has undergone great change over the last five years, going from a creator and distributor of physical retail games to a developer of digital and mobile titles based on its held franchises. According to a release, these games have become “a growth engine” for parent company Atari S.A. which reported annual profits in 2011 and 2012 as a result of Atari US’s titles.
“The Chapter 11 process constitutes the most strategic option for Atari’s US operations, as they look to preserve their inherent value and unlock revenue potential unrealized while under the control of Atari S.A. During this period, the company expects to conduct its normal business operations.”
Atari US and its subsidiaries have already secured a $5.25 million debtor-in-possession investment (pending approval) from Tenor Capital Management, which will serve to diminish any disruptions in day-to-day operations restructuring plans are initiated.
When you think of Atari, you may think of the logo, Nolan Bushnell and classic games from the 70’s and early 80’s, but the property has undergone radical overhauls over its 40 years of existence, changing hands as companies rebranded themselves with the recognisable moniker.
The Wikipedia entry detailing Atari’s fortunes over the years makes for excellent reading.