MTV Networks has announced an impending purchase of Guitar Hero developer Harmonix for $175 million.
Viacom-owned MTV Networks will acquire game studio Harmonix Music Systems later this year, according to a press release. Under the terms of the purchase agreement, MTV will acquire all of Harmonix's outstanding stock in exchange for $175 million in cash. Harmonix will join MTV's Music and Logo Enterprises unit, and "key employees" of the game studio will be retained. The transaction is expected to close in Q4 2006.
Harmonix will work with MTV to "increase audience engagement and time spent with the brand across all screens," said the network. According to the New York Times, the company will offer, among other things, a service that provides visitors to its websites, online communities, and mobile services the ability to remix or play along with their favorite songs.
"It is about people coming to MTV who are passionate about music and wanting to interact on deeper and deeper levels," said MTV president Christina Norman. "It's not just about wearing the T-shirt."
"We are very excited to combine our unique assets in the music and gaming space with one of the most recognized brands in the music world. We look forward to continuing to create innovative ways for people to enjoy music," said Alex Rigopulos, Harmonix's CEO.
Since November 2005, MTV has partnered with Harmonix to feature Guitar Hero for the Playstation 2 in ongoing network-related programming, promotions, and contests. In addition to the acclaimed Guitar Hero franchise, Harmonix's resume includes several other notable music-based console titles, including Frequency, Amplitude, and the Karaoke Revolution series.
The purchasing announcement follows a flurry of Guitar Hero-related news earlier this week, including the announcement of the expansion of the franchise onto next-generation systems, as well as the filings of a lawsuit and counter-lawsuit between Guitar Hero publisher RedOctane and controller manufacturers The Ant Commandos.