Infogrames-Controlled Atari Gets 49 Percent Of Publishing Revenues From DBZ

For fiscal 2008, Atari reported net revenues of $80.1 million, as compared with $122.3 million for the year previous, the company's annual report revealed. This represents a steady year-over-year decline for the publisher since fiscal 2005, when its revenues were $343.8 million.

"We rely on borrowings to meet our operating needs," said Atari, now that it has no more substantially-valued IP to sell. Atari's majority shareholder, Infogrames SA, will preserve Atari through an acquisition and a $20 million loan, while BlueBay High Yield Investments has also loaned Atari $14 million.

Atari also relies heavily on publishing revenues from a single franchise - Dragon Ball Z, which it says generated 49.1 percent of its net publishing revenues in fiscal 2008. Godzilla accounts for 9.2 percent.

Atari now primarily acts as a North American publisher-distributor for Infogrames-licensed titles. In kind, Atari has licensed its Test Driver and Test Driver Unlimited properties for seven years to Infogrames, and the language in the annual report suggests a tense relationship:

"During fiscal 2008, we completely terminated our product development activities and we granted IESA a seven year license to exploit our last remaining valuable game franchise," the company said. "Further, we increasingly focused our efforts on distributing products published by IESA. These steps substantially reduced our revenues."

Atari also warns, when quantifying its risk factors, that Infogrames' control over the company might be "disadvantageous" to its shareholders, although Atari also said it expects Infogrames to approve the pending merger.

"IESA [Infogrames Entertainment SA] controls us and could prevent a transaction favorable to our other stockholders," Atari said. "IESA beneficially owns approximately 51% of our common stock, which gives it sufficient voting power to prevent any transaction that it finds unfavorable, including an acquisition, consolidation or sale of shares or assets that might be desirable to our other stockholders."

"Additionally, IESA could unilaterally approve certain transactions as a result of its majority position. IESA also has sufficient voting power to elect all of the members of our Board of Directors."