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Infogrames buys Hasbro

What a cracking deal - you will know all these games

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Infogrames has bought a chunk of legendary games company Hasbro for $100 million and gets exclusive rights to all its games in all formats for the next 20 years. A cracking deal because we are talking about all Microprose games, all Atari games and all the board games.

Still not impressed? Think Civilization, think Missile Command, think Risk, Monopoly, Scrabble, Mr Potato Head, Action Man, think Pong for chrissakes. Is all this really only worth $100 million when loss-making, poor-service portal Freeserve went for £1.6 billion yesterday? It's a mad world.

And what's worse is that Infogrames only really paid $5 million because the rest of it was paid in bloody shares. In the grand days of games such as these, companies were worth money and not many could be swallowed because no one could get enough cash together. It's a sad indication of the modern world that Hasbro can be bought.

Anyway, back to the news. For some reason this has been called a "strategic agreement", which of course means nothing. And it comes in three bite-sized chunks. One, the purchase of Hasbro Interactive. Two, a long-term licensing deal for all the games in all formats, plus any new ones. And three, the acquisition of the Games.com Web site. Hasbro will get an annual fee from Infogrames based on sales generated from the licensing agreement.

The deal isn't done and dusted, it needs shareholder approval and all that, so there still is time to save Hasbro. But it doesn't want saving, or so says its CEO Alan Hassenfield in a load of management gibberish: "This arrangement with Infogrames is a very positive one for Hasbro on many different levels. First, we have aligned ourselves with a premier player in the interactive arena. Second, this strategic agreement with Infogrames meshes with our strategy of reducing costs as we focus on consistently delivering profits going forward. Third, this arrangement will provide a continuing revenue stream."

This is not the kind of talk we want from a man with his finger on the Pong button. We want someone who will stick it to the suits and justify Hasbro's proud heritage - we've got more than money invested in Hasbro, we've got emotion in it, dammit. ®

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