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Atari files for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection

Atari Inc., the video game company that created “Pong” and “Asteroids” in the 1970s, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Atari pong 2013 01 21 0Enlarge
Visitors try out Pong, one of the first commercially successful home computer video games, at the Computer Game Museum (Computerspielemuseum) in Berlin, Germany, on Jan. 26, 2011. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Atari Inc., the video game company that changed the world when it created the games “Pong” and “Asteroids” in the 1970s, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the Financial Times reported.

Owned since 1999 by French firm Atari SA — formerly called Infogrames Entertainment — US-based Atari is seeking to separate from its parent company and find a buyer that will take the business private, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Atari officials said Chapter 11 reorganization was “the most strategic option” to preserve value and “unlock revenue potential unrealized while under the control of Atari SA,” the Financial Times reported.

Atari and three of its affiliates — Atari Interactive, Humongous and California US Holdings — said they planned to sell all their assets in the next 120 days, the Financial Times reported.

According to the Financial Times:

The assets include games such as Asteroids, Missile Command and Tempest, as well as the Atari brand logo, a stylized letter A meant to evoke Mount Fuji, which is familiar to 90 percent of Americans.

Atari executives want to grow business by focusing on digital and mobile platforms, a source told the LA Times. But as an American business with a French public stock listing, the company has struggled to find financing to support those plans.

On Dec. 31, a $28-million credit facility with London financial company BlueBay Asset Management lapsed, and now Atari does not have the resources to release games currently in development, the LA Times reported.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130121/atari-files-ch-11-bankruptcy-protection