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Atari Inc. seeks to generate $22M by auctioning assets in July


Atari Inc., the US branch of French parent company Atari S.A., filed for court approval this week to auction its assets in July. Those assets include the Atari logo, as well as the Test Drive, Rollercoaster Tycoon, Asteroids, and Pong franchises among others.

As Reuters and the Wall Street Journal reports, Atari Inc., which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year in a bid to sell its assets and separate itself from Atari S.A., has failed to secure a "stalking horse" or lead bidder since then. Atari Inc. approached more than 180 parties about purchasing assets, but only 15 came back with preliminary bids. Atari Inc. didn't deem a single bid acceptable to set the minimum price for the division's clearout.

As it is, Atari Inc.'s own listed minimum bids for the July auction total "nearly $22.2 million." They include $15 million for the Atari brand, $3.5 million for the Rollercoaster Tycoon franchise, $1.5 million for Test Drive, and RTS franchise Total Annihilation at just $250,000. Atari Inc. has already secured $5 million through debtor-in-possession financing. While the auction is still pending court approval, Atari Inc aims to hold it between July 16 and July 19.

While the Atari name is synonymous with the arcade's pioneering years, Atari Inc. traces its roots to a company called GT Interactive, founded in 1993. GT Interactive was eventually acquired by French company Infogrames Entertainment, and in 2001 Infogrames seized Atari Corporation and its Atari properties through the purchase of Hasbro Interactive. In 2009, Infrogrames renamed itself as Atari S.A., with what was GT Interactive by then renamed as Atari Inc.

After some forty or so years that have seen the Atari brand transfer across several entities, if things go to plan then in two months time it'll find itself at a new home once more. What the ramifications of that sale would be for Atari S.A., financially and nominally, are unclear.

In a financial statement published on May 15, Atari S.A. said, "Faced with the uncertainties relating to the proceedings that are underway in the US, where the Group's strategic assets and most of its business are located, the outcome of the Chapter 11 proceedings in the US will be decisive for all the stakeholders." The statement also reveals Atari S.A. recently sold the ownership of its Outcast franchise for a "nominal amount," and negotiations are underway at similar prices for its Desperados and Silver franchises.

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