Officials from Midway Games have announced that the company has acquired Australian developer Ratbag, in a primarily stock transaction for 418,570 Midway shares (currently worth around $5.7 million). As well as the shares used to acquire the studio, a total of 38,050 shares of Midway common stock (worth around $520,00) were issued to key Ratbag employees as retention incentives.
The Adelaide-based studio is already working on several unannounced Midway products for both current and next generation systems, and will now be renamed Midway Studios – Australia. The developer was established in 1994 and has since been responsible for a number of racing titles, including Powerslide
, Dirt Track Racing
and The Dukes of Hazzard: Return of the General Lee
Midway's president and CEO David F. Zucker commented, "This transaction is consistent with our strategy of adding depth to our internal product development organization and strengthening our ability to deliver high-quality, compelling and commercially successful content for current and future systems. Ratbag brings to Midway a rare combination of development expertise in driving and on-foot combat that they are incorporating into our games now in development."
The move is in keeping with Midway’s stated goal to acquire small third party developers, usually those the company has already worked with, and create a larger in-house development base. This has already seen the company acquire Area 51 developer Inevitable Entertainment
and Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks developer Paradox Development
. Midway has also begun to expand its publishing business recently, with the opening of a new subsidiary