'Rock Band' Creator Harmonix Lost $316 Million in First Nine Months of 2010

Viacom regulatory filing details increasing losses of the business that the company plans to sell

NEW YORK - Harmonix, the music video game creator behind the Rock Band franchise, recorded a loss of $316 million for the first nine months of 2010 on revenue of $62 million, according to a regulatory filing Friday.

The figures are latest proof of the weakening financials and escalating losses the business has experienced.

Viacom, which said Thursday it plans to sell the gaming firm, detailed the figures in its annual report for the nine months period as it is switching to a fiscal year that starts in October.

For 2009, Harmonix had recorded a loss of $87 million on revenue of $362 million. For 2008, it had posted a $24 million loss on $678 million in revenue.

Viacom acquired Harmonix in 2006 for $175 million plus earnouts if the business exceeded certain performance targets in 2007 and 2008. In 2008, it paid $150 million, subject to adjustment, for 2007 performance under this arrangement. In its filing Friday, Viacom reiterated that it believes "that it is entitled to a refund of a substantial portion" of that, but the final earnout amount has not yet been determined.

Meanwhile, a report Friday said that Jerry Bruckheimer's video game business arrangement with Viacom seems in limbo amid the planned sale of Harmonix, which the Viacom board decided to pursue at a September meeting, according to the annual report.
 

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