Harmonix buys independence from Viacom

Harmonix buys independence from Viacom

By Rob Crossley

December 23rd 2010 at 6:46PM

Investment firm Columbus Nova establishes â??Harmonix-SBE Holdingsâ??; new projects underway

Rock Band developer Harmonix says it is once again an independent enterprise having been sold to a newly-founded company, Harmonix-SBE Holdings.

Former owner Viacom did not disclose how much it has been paid for offloading the developer it bought back in 2006 for $175 million in cash.

The sale to Harmonix-SBE Holdings brings an end to Viacom’s foray into the games business. The media giant – which owns cable networks MTV, Nickelodeon and film studio Paramount Pictures – has observed a rapid decline in the music games market.

Harmonix’s effective purchase of itself may raise more suspicion that few publishers had an interest in buying the developer. Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said buying the outfit would be akin to “catching a falling knife”.

Investment firm Columbus Nova has exhibited more faith, having established Harmonix-SBE Holdings as its own subsidiary and funding the sale of the studio.

“We’re excited to be returning to our roots as an independent and privately owned studio,” read a company statement from Harmonix PR rep John Drake.

The studio added that it is “hard at work on some unannounced projects that we think you're going to be pumped about.”

The studio will still be working on Rock Band DLC.