THE video games maker Atari has filed for bankruptcy in the US in a bid to break free from its loss-making French parent company.
The oldest brand in video gaming is to sell of its distinctive logo and the rights to classic games such as Pong, Asteroids and Centipede.
Atari Inc and three of its affiliates want to break free from Atari SA and find a buyer to take the company private.
Together with Atari Interactive Inc, Humongous Inc and California US Holdings Inc, Atari Inc wants to secure independent funding to continue producing games for the mobile and tablet market.
Atari SA, formerly known as Infogrames SA has been struggling financially for years.
The US operations of Atari have shifted their business from retail games to digital games in recent times and have helped prop up Atari SA, which has seen shares drop in value from more than €11 in 2008 to less than €1 recently.
In a statement, the companies said: “The US-based Atari operations seek to separate from the structural financial encumbrances of their French parent holding company, Atari SA ... and secure independent capital for future growth, primarily in the areas of digital and mobile games.
“Within the next 90-120 days, the Companies expect to effectuate a sale of all, or substantially all, of their assets [that include] not only one of the most widely recognised brand logos, which is familiar to 90 per cent of Americans, according to a recent survey, but also legendary game titles including Pong®, Asteroids®, Centipede®, Missile Command®, Battlezone® and Tempest®.”
Atari said in December it was looking to raise cash and was talking to investors.
The company was founded in 1972 and produced some of the earliest games consoles, including the classic wood-panelled Atari 2600.
The classic bat-and-ball game Pong was credited with helping kick-start the multi-billion pound video games industry.
Richard Holt telegraph.co.uk