Atari Boots Board; Will Games Company Shutter Soon?

Atari’s (ATAR) long history as a video game outfit appears to be winding down. Infogrames, the French parent company of the New York-based game distributor, said today that it had booted 5 of the company’s 8 board members. From the AP:

Infogrames said the changes to Atari’s board are a key part of a strategic plan to improve the company’s operational and financial performance.

James Ackerly, the chairman and president of Splinternet Holdings Inc.; Ronald C. Bernard, president of LWB Consulting; Michael G. Corrigan, vice chairman of Afterburner Films Inc. and a co-founder and principal of Shelbourne Capital Partners; Denis Guyennot, an executive of Glu Mobile Inc.; and independent consultant Ann E. Kronen were removed as directors, effective Friday.

So what does that mean? We spoke with a source familiar with the company to parse out the machinations. Our understanding: All five of the board members were advocates of a plan to turn Atari, which once a video game powerhouse but is now just a distributor of other people’s video games, back into a video game producer again.

That’s a plan that Infogrames, which owns 51% of Atari, has at times been interested in, but apparently no longer wants to pursue. Our source’s prediction: Infogrames looks to windup the money-losing company in the near future, and sell off the rights to the once-fabled brand, for perhaps $5 million to $10 million. A likely buyer – not a video game company, but an apparel outfit or other licensor. AP