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Private equity firm acquires Backyard Sports Atari assets

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The Evergreen Group, a private equity firm, will acquire the rights to Atari's Backyard Sports franchise as part of a recent assets auction.

The Backyard Sports series launched in 1997 and spans football, baseball, hockey and more. Included in the acquisition are copyrights, patents and game code, which Evergreen's portfolio company Epic Gear will take over. According to Evergreen manager Jim Wagner, the Backyards Sports series is a "key piece" in the company's overall sports strategy.

"The Backyard Sports franchise is one of the most compelling youth sports game brands of all time," Wagner said. "We are confident the brand will translate to mobile games, and extend to new categories as well."

Atari's U.S. division filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January. The company was unable to find bidders for its full catalog, which included titles such as Asteroids, Test Drive and Pong. Shortly after, it began to sell assets individually; bidders include World of Tanks developer Wargaming.net and Sins of a Solar Empire publisher Stardock.