A new report claims Microsoft received several serious offers to acquire its UK-based Lionhead Studios. However, the company turned them down because it was unwilling to sell the studio's Fable franchise as well.
Microsoft announced its plans to potentially close Lionhead in early March, after the UK government-required consultancy period expired. That period came and went, so Microsoft officially shut down the studio in late April. According to Kotaku, there were many buyers interested in acquiring Lionhead:
Potential buyers included some of the biggest names in video game publishing - though, unsurprisingly given the confidential nature of discussions such as this, we were not able to confirm involvement with any of the specific publishers mentioned. The discussions were not just ephemeral: letters of intent were reportedly filed.
Why didn't it happen? One source close to Xbox claims it's because Microsoft would not sell the Fable IP along with the studio, despite offers that were in the range of hundreds of millions. "90% of the people interested just walked away at that point," said the source.