AT&T is reportedly no longer looking to sell the Warner Bros. gaming division after a few months of testing the waters for a potential buyer. This decision was made after former WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey took over the same role for Warner’s parent company, AT&T, on July 1, according to a report from Bloomberg.
As of now, AT&T removed the Warner Bros. gaming division from its list of noncore assets made available for purchase after deciding it was “too valuable to unload” and had a lot of growth potential. Any potential sale would’ve been used to offset the company’s near $200 billion in total debt, with CNBC citing that the games unit could bring in upward of $4 billion.
Microsoft, Take-Two Interactive, Electronic Arts, and Activision Blizzard were among the rumored parties interested in purchasing the WB Interactive Games lineup of studios. This would have effectively led to massive developers like Avalanche Software, Monolith Productions, NetherRealm Studios, Rocksteady Studios, TT Games, and others swapping hands.
Outside of the power shift within the company, the recent announcement of Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and WB Games Montréal’s Gotham Knights, as well as positive reactions to both, likely swayed some opinions.
Licensing rights also could have played a major part in the decision since most of the IPs like Batman and Harry Potter wouldn’t transfer along with the purchase. That means any buyer would need to negotiate a lot of additional deals and agreements with AT&T and WarnerMedia so they could still use the IPs in new gaming projects.
AT&T acquired Time Warner in 2018 in a deal that closed at $109 billion. And while this potential move didn’t work out, Stankey and the company are still focusing on “a lot of work around portfolio rationalization,” with potential sales of DirecTV, ad unit Xandr, and anime streaming service Crunchyroll still on the table.