have reported this morning that sources close to Microsoft claim there were offers made to purchase Lionhead, but Microsoft refused to sell the Fable IP along with the studio.
Unfortunately, Kotaku were unable to give the names of the publishers who wanted to purchase Lionhead due to the confidential nature of the discussions. With offers that were supposedly in the range of hundreds of millions, it seems strange that Microsoft would refuse to sell the studio – that is until you consider what would’ve happened if Microsoft sold Lionhead without letting go of the IP.
If this scenario were to occur, the company that purchased Lionhead would have to go through a licensing agreement with Microsoft in order to publish the game. Basically, anyone even considering this route would have to accept that Microsoft would earn most of the money from the deal. In business, people tend not to take an option that earns a different company more money.
If you want to read more about Lionhead and the history of the studio, check outwhere he goes through each of their games. It’s quite a sad story, particularly when Microsoft get involved… Definitely give it a read if you’ve got the time.