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Midway in line for MTV, Nickolodeon license deals

The relationship between publisher Midway and media empire Viacom is the subject of speculation again today, after Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone stated that Midway is seen as an acquisition candidate or potential licensee.

The relationship between publisher Midway and media empire Viacom is the subject of speculation again today, after Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone stated that Midway was seen as an acquisition candidate or potential licensee.

"The management of Viacom Inc has from time to time considered the possibility of participating more extensively in the electronic games business," Redstone said in a Viacom regulatory filing, "possibly by acquiring a company in that industry."

"In this regard, Midway could be considered as a potential licensee of Viacom intellectual property, or as an acquisition candidate," he concluded.

As well as being chairman and CEO of Viacom, Redstone is the largest shareholder in Midway, with some 73.6 per cent of the company's stock currently belonging to him. He recently installed his daughter, Shari Redstone, as vice chairman of the publisher, and was instrumental in having former VU Games chairman Kenneth Cron appointed as chairman.

Regardless of whether Viacom acquires Midway, or merely enters into an extensive licensing deal with the firm - with the latter scenario considered more likely by some analysts - the effect will be to hand some of the most valuable properties from the television industry to Midway.

Viacom operates channels including MTV, Nickolodeon and Paramount, and its library of properties includes huge franchises such as Star Trek. The firm is also one of the largest advertising companies in the world, and has expressed an interest in developing the market for advertising in videogames.

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Rob Fahey: Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.