When Nintendo and British studio RARE parted ways, before working for Microsoft, the developer was almost bought by Activision.
Whilst all three parties have been arguing over the rights to Goldeneye 007, the trio have deeper links than one may have imagined. For more than a decade RARE had worked solely on Nintendo consoles, producing arguably some of the most imaginative and innovative projects, from Donkey Kong to Banjo Kazooie and everything in-between.
A brief history lesson on Nintendo, RARE and Activision's "bidding war"...
Nintendo owned half of RARE and had the opportunity to nab the other, however ended up loosing the developer to the Xbox creators Microsoft. The fee was $375 million, and this was likely down to Activision's initial success in the bidding war.
Originally RARE were to go with Activision, as it would have given exactly what the studio were after: the freedom to work with multiple platforms as a third party developer.
According top previous vice president of game publishing at Microsoft Ed Fries, the deal fell through due to unknown reasons.
I don't know what it was, but relatively far along in the deal things got cold, and we made a counter offer ... The prices were getting so high, by this point, that it didn't look like Nintendo was willing to participate.
In a nutshell: Nintendo didn't buy the other half of RARE, Activision made a bid, was close to sealing the deal when things got cold and Microsoft snuck in for a meaty $375 million to secure exclusivity (bar some games for Nintendo handhelds).