Warner Bros. Interactive was first reported as being up for sale last month, when CNBC claimed the firm’s parent company AT&T was looking to generate around $4 billion to pay off some of its substantial debt.
In a new report published on Monday, The Information cites sources familiar with the situation who say that Microsoft has now joined the list of companies interested in a potential takeover.
If a sale goes through, many of the Warner Bros. IP tied to in-development games, such as Harry Potter and Batman, would not be part of the deal but could be licensed, CNBC’s sources said.
Warner’s games division reportedly had big announcements scheduled for E3 2020 prior to the show’s cancellation.
According to Kotaku, Warner had been lining up a trio of high-profile reveals for the event, where it was due to host an E3 press conference for the first time.
These included a new Batman title, an open-world Harry potter game, and the next project from Arkham developer Rocksteady Studios.
Warner Bros. Interactive also owns NetherRealm (Mortal Kombat), TT Games (Lego), Monolith (Middle-Earth: Shadow or War) and internal studios based in Montreal, Boston, New York and San Francisco.
Over the past two years Xbox has aggressively expanded its portfolio of first-party studios ahead of the release of Xbox Series X during the 2020 holiday season.
As well as setting up The Initiative and a new Age of Empires studio, Xbox acquired Ninja Theory (Hellblade), Playground (Forza Horizon), Obsidian (Fallout: New Vegas), InXile (Wasteland 3) and Double Fine (Psychonauts 2).
In November 2019 Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty said Xbox was “shifting focus” from studio acquisitions.