AllThingsD.com, a subsidiary of the company behind the Wall Street Journal, has indicated sources close to the deal between Viacom and investment group Columbus Nova confirmed that the latter acquired Rock Band-developers Harmonix for the total sum of $49.99, a price equal to the retail price of the recently released third installment in the Rock Band series. With support from this investment group, Harmonix re-established itself as an independent developer.
As part of the deal with Viacom, the now-independent Harmonix also acquired all of the liabilities that were previously owned by Viacom. This means that it will have to cover the towering licensing fees for the music featured in the three Rock Band games and the online Rock Band store, as well as bearing responsibility for all of the currently unsold games and peripherals that are apparently stored in warehouses around the world.
In 2006, Viacom acquired the developer from Cambridge, Massachusetts at a price of $175 million. Though the current sale of Harmonix may appear to be a tremendous loss for Viacom, AllThingsD did reported that the way in which the sale of the studio was structured allows the former owner to reap tax benefits in excess of $150 million, recovering a large part of the initial investment.