September 2, 2003 at 7:19 pm #27880Unknown,UnknownParticipant
Today it was announced that NBC will buy Vivendi Universal’s American assets. This should include the interactive entertainment department, which is called Vivendi Universal Games and consists of companies like Blizzard, Fox Interactive, and also Sierra Entertainment. This deal would result in the creation of a new entertainment company, called NBC-Universal. The deal is the result of Vivendi’s former hotshot boss Jean-Marie Messier’s messing up of the company finances. So it looks like Sierra is going to be a subsidiary of NBC. A very small one at that, considering the size of these companies.
A quick recap of Sierra’s corporate history (in ten easy steps) for those of you that are confused: 🙂
1. Sierra is formed by Ken and Roberta Williams, under the name On-Line Systems.
2. After being renamed Sierra On-Line, the company goes public.
3. Sierra On-Line buys a number of other companies, including Dynamix and Coktel Vision.
4. Sierra moves its HQ from Oakhurst, California to Bellevue, Washington.
5. Sierra is purchased by CUC International, along with Blizzard Entertainment and a number of other game companies. Ken Williams leaves the post of chairman.
6. CUC merges with HFS Incorporated and forms the Cendant Corporation.
7. A fraud within Cendant results in massive debts.
8. Remains of Cendant’s consumer software business are scraped up by Havas, a subsidiary of Vivendi, a French mega-conglomerate. Cutbacks and layoffs within Havas affects Sierra in the forms of the infamous Black Monday.
9. After another deal, Havas is renamed Vivendi Universal Publishing.
10. Sierra On-Line changes name to Sierra Entertainment.
And now this. Who could have thought 25 years ago that this little company run by two persons would end up being a pawn in the deals of such massive corporations? Even NBC pales in comparison to the conglomerate that runs it, General Electric! These companies tosses around billions of dollars like they are spare change.
Btw: Recently the Sierra website was redesigned to look more like the Vivendi Universal Games site, and after the change there isn’t even mention of who runs Sierra these days. It’s turned into a completely transparent company, only a name put on the games boxes published. Is there any in-house development at all these days? Does it work like a distinctive company? Or is it really just Vivendi that are putting the Sierra name on games boxes because it sells? It’s very confusing.
Anyway, here are the details about the NBC deal:
September 2, 2003 at 9:39 pm #27881Unknown,UnknownParticipant
(re: Sierra to become a part of NBC?) Fox Interactive owned by NBC? That’s a little ironic.
This makes some sense, considering it was a Vivendi subsidiary that published the Law & Order game (at least, I think it was… for awhile Amazon mistakenly listed Sierra as the publisher…)