Viacom (NYSE: VIA) has found a buyer for Harmonix Music Systems, maker of its struggling video-game franchise Rock Band: investment management firm Columbus Nova.
Viacom signaled it was shopping Harmonix as recently as November. On Viacom’s Q3 earnings call last month, president/CEO Philippe Dauman positioned his intent to unload Harmonix as an effort to focus on core competencies. “The console games business requires expertise we don’t have.”
Titles like The Beatles: Rock Band were once brisk sellers for Viacom, but once the category cooled off, so did the company’s interest in the console sector. Not that Viacom has pulled out of gaming entirely, having recently acquired Social Express to make a run at the casual gaming category.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Here’s a January 2010 interview with MTV Games senior vice president Paul DeGooyer, who discussed Band’s slowing sales with paidContent:UK’s Robert Andrews: