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Let's burn money!

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Interesting discount-rack-related news.

Mattel, after buying The Learning company (formerly Softkey, the old king of discount publishing) for $3.6 billion, dumping the board, firing everyone, and looking for a buyer less than a year later, is giving away The Learning Company to a holding company in the hopes of getting a few million from product liquidation and future royalties.

Amazingly, the shareholders are pretty pissed because Mattel could conceivably receive as little as nothing from the deal. Shareholders were hoping that Mattel could dump TLC for $200 mil - a little over five cents on the dollar.

On another note, Activision's purchase of Expert over a year ago seems to have come to nothing. Activision basically bought Expert's shelf-space for $23 million and assumption of debt a couple of years ago. They hesitated, though, and other publishers took over the discount rack as soon as the Expert products sold out. Looking at my local CompUSA a few days ago, it appears that Activision spent $23 million and took on an undisclosed amount of debt (including $41 that they still owe me and won't return my calls, but that's another story) in exchange for some add-ons for MS flight simulator that they're duct-taping to last year's Activision products in a cardboard box in the back corner.

Fasten your seat belts, folks. The industry's in the middle of a bigass money-burning contest, and some ain't gonna survive!
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