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Redstone confirms Midway buyout plans

Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone has confirmed that he intends to buy a controlling stake in publisher Midway Games, after the firm reported first quarter results which were better than expectations, but still down on last year's.

Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone has confirmed that he intends to buy a controlling stake in publisher Midway Games, after the firm reported first quarter results which were better than expectations, but still down on last year's.

Papers filed with the American Securities and Exchange Commission indicate that Redstone, who is already the single largest shareholder in Midway with a 49.3 per cent stake, will increase his holding to at least 60 per cent - thus taking control of the company.

Speaking to Reuters at a conference this week, Redstone confirmed that he has major plans for the embattled publisher. "You will see very soon an enormous infusion of great creative talent to Midway - and I mean very soon," he pledged.

The company could certainly do with an overhaul to its operations; despite launching one of its most commercially successful and critically acclaimed titles in years during the last quarter, The Suffering, Midway's finances for the quarter revealed an operating loss of $14.2 million - up from a loss of $9.3 million in the same quarter last year.

Revenues for the quarter also plummeted, falling from $45.8 million to $20.1 million. Both revenue and operating loss figures beat the company's own expectations, largely due to the better than expected performance of The Suffering (whose developer, Surreal Software, the publisher bought as soon as the success of the title became apparent), but the comparisons with last year's figures - and the fact that this represents four straight years of quarterly losses for the company - speak volumes.

Midway has revised its full year projections in the face of the better than expected Q1 figures, and now expects a net loss of $18 million on revenues of $148 million - both improved from the original projections of a loss of $20 million on revenues of $140 million.

The company also announced that one of its most anticipated titles, NARC, has now officially been delayed to 2005 - confirming speculation which has surrounded the title for several months.

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Rob Fahey avatar

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

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.

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