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THQ sold to “stalking horse,” files for bankruptcy

Wednesday, 19 December 2012 19:02 GMT By Staff

THQ has confirmed it’s sold “substantially all of the assets” to a “stalking horse bidder,” affiliates of Clearlake Capital Group.

According to this press release, the publisher has filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

Clearlake will serve as a interim bidder in a Section 363 sale process. Other interested parties are able to come forward with competing bids. The company is asking the Court for a schedule to complete the sale process in about 30 days.

THQ is currently worth around $60 million.

Said the publisher in a statement: “All of the company’s studios remain open, and all development teams continue. The company remains confident in its existing pipeline of games. THQ maintains relationships with some of the top independent development studios around the globe. As part of the sale, the company is seeking approval to assume the contracts of these studios, and Clearlake will assume these contracts.”

President Jason Rubin took to Twitter to say the move was a “major step in securing financial future.

He assured that Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light and South Park : The Stick Of Truth were all still scheduled for release.

Rubin added: “We have incredible, creative talent here at THQ. We look forward to partnering with experienced investors for a new start as we will continue to use our intellectual property assets to develop high-quality core games, create new franchise titles, and drive demand through both traditional and digital channels.”

The SEC filings which accompanied the announcement made reference to several unannounced titles apparently in the works at THQ. While the existence of these titles has been openly discussed in THQ financial briefings over the past year, it’s the first time they’ve been detailed in any form. Polygon harvested the following list:

  • Crawler (working title) – in development at Vigil Games. No details given.
  • Evolve (working title) – Turtle Rock’s new co-op action game. THQ has trademarked the title.
  • Atlas (working title) – in development at Relic Entertainment with an expected 2014 release.
  • 1666 (working title) – in development at THQ Montreal, the new studio headed up by former Assassin’s Creed lead Patrice Désileta. THQ has trademarked and registered a domain for 1666, the year of the Great Fire of London.

The filings also mention Homefront 2 and the next Saints Row game, and suggest an FY2015 release for Turtle Rock’s game, as THQ only budgeted for it until the end of the next financial year, March 2014.

The publisher also has three games scheduled for release in calendar 2013 – Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light and South Park: The Stick of Truth. THQ claimed today that consumers and retailers should see no changes while the company completes a sale, and that it does not intend to reduce its workforce as a result of the filing.

THQ has suffered operating difficulty for much of this year, narrowly avoiding a NASDAQ de-listing in July.

Take-Two’s Strauss Zelnick predicted in April that THQ would be defunct by the later stages of this year.

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32 Comments

  1. IL DUCE

    What does this mean for Metro Last Light? Or is that game far enough along that it will release as scheduled in March?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    All games on track, according to that release. No one fired.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Dragon246

    Was bound to happen. Although I don’t think it will be bad. Just a change of ownership, probably it would do them good as now they don’t have to be stingy about budgets with a cashflow coming from the new owners.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    Hopefully they’ll get rid of Farrell & co. and keep Rubin. That might turn out to be a really good outcome.

    Could get really shitty if they don’t know what they’re dealing with though.

    @3 I have a hard time seeing that. THQ already ran themselves into the ground once, and hopefully you don’t buy a business without some kind of plan for where you want it to go.

    They’re not going to get any blank checks, and I certainly hope the new owners will clean up on the executive aisles.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Hunam

    Wait? Does this mean THQ have sold their company and are now just sorting the debts out? I couldn’t quite make heads or tales of the article… I’m fiscially dim.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Patrick Garratt

    @5 – They’ve gone bust, basically. We’ll see what happens. $60 million isn’t a lot of money.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Hunam

    In that case I’m going to Kickstart myself some funding into securing the rights to Homeworld then.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. theevilaires

    Woo Hoo I’m gonna get to pick up Darksiders 2 for really cheap soon :D Yay!

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Mike W

    Maybe Ubisoft or EA will pick up the licenses for Darksiders and Saints Row. This economy sucks dick…..RIP THQ :(

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Old MacDonald

    6: Agreed, I’m thinking of buying them myself.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. GrimRita

    Sad news this. Worse case is that EA picks them up as they have $60m in loose change I’m sure.

    @9 Its not so much the economy. Publishers need to learn how to control their costs. Each and every time, they spend too much money on marketing without looking at the value of it.

    From a PC gamers point of view, I think Dawn of War 2 did some damage here. It wasn’t anywhere near as good, neither did it a)sell b)have the lasting appeal of the original, which imo was an outstanding online game.

    Fingers crossed for the future but if EA do buy them and CoH2 goes Origin only, then my pre-order is cancelled.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Mike W

    @11

    You’re absolutely right, it’s just sad to see a publisher tap out of the market.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Belmont

    If studios continue their thing and things stay good I think we may see them getting better over time.Personaly I still wonder why Darksiders 2 didn’t sell better.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Patrick Garratt

    Some updates there. Rubin’s said Last Light, etc, are still coming out.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Belmont

    #14
    Good news !
    P.S : where is the surprise metal gear announcement promised by famitsu? was it in this issue?

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Mike W

    Well let’s not give up hope, chapter 11 is not as bad as media makes out to be. Remember Chrysler filed for it and they jumped back with a vengeance. I’m hoping they can recover thru this.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Cobra951

    I think the title of this story is misleading. The stalking horse is supposed to set a minimum bidding price. It’s Step 1 of the auction process for the bankrupt company. THQ has not been sold to the stalking horse. If no one else bids higher for those 30 days, then the headline becomes true.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. AHA-Lambda

    sad to see them go :(

    $60m? They are worth the same as the budget of a big AAA title basically? Damn…

    BTW, what is a stalking horse bidder? O__o

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Belmont

    #18
    Max Payne 3 had a budget bigger than that !

    #19 2 years ago
  20. AHA-Lambda

    MP3 had a bigger budget than most games, it’s the exception rather than the rule ;)

    #20 2 years ago
  21. CyberMarco

    @8 TEA

    About Darksiders 2, check this out.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/GameDeals/comments/153dzp/amazon_darksiders_2_all_dlc_5_promo_code_for_1319/

    #21 2 years ago
  22. CPC_RedDawn

    I will admit THQ’s games lately have been pretty sub par. Look how much they poored into Homefront as a COD beater and they saw literally nowhere near that amount back the amount made from the game probably didn’t even cover the costs of the advertising campaign.

    The best news to come from this is that so far no one has lost their jobs and the games we want (ie Metro Last Light) should still see the light of day.

    Although a lot of their franchises are still under performing. Darksiders 2 didn’t do as well as they had hoped even though it got good reviews. WWE13 did ok. I don’t think I have seen one of THQ’s games in the top ten NPD reports for months now.

    It would be awesome if the now on vacation Cliffy B was to seize this opportunity and buy out THQ therefore he would have his own company with complete control. THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!! I think THQ then would become a force to be reckoned with, with someone like Cliffy on board. But this won’t happen.

    Good luck to all the devs working under THQ, it would be a kick in the balls and overies (for all the female devs too :) ) to get fired just before xmas!

    #22 2 years ago
  23. The_Red

    Aaaannnnd another mid tier publisher bites the dust. I just hope this doesn’t hurt South Park: The Stick of Truth.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. DSB

    @18 Stalking horse means they made a deal with Clearlake Capital to sell themselves to them at 60 million if no one bids higher.

    It’s basically a way for THQ to prevent people from speculating in their demise. If the potential buyers stayed away, they could always come back to pick the bones clean after the fact. Now it’s set at at least 60 million, so they have to come forward if they want it.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. AmiralPatate

    So, that’s not surprising at all.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. OlderGamer

    Kind of sets me thinking that maybe BlackDreamHunk knew what he was talking about.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. NeoSquall

    I’m not particularly happy about this situation, I actually share DSB’s view entirely (it’s the first time, and I’m afraid).

    We don’t know (yet) the new owners, and we don’t know what directions they want to set for the company, if they want to keep all the developers/assets (of course they should) and, most importantly, we don’t know if they want to oust Farrel and friends or if they’re friends and are just there to throw new money in new lackluster ventures.
    Personally, I’d like to see Jason Rubin (IMHO the only capable officer left in the company) as CEO of a THQ focused on delivering selected core franchises and scrapping away the lame tie-ins and kids games.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. Brenna Hillier

    Updated with details of games mentioned in the filings.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. NeoSquall

    “Atlas (working title) – in development at relic Entertainment with an expected 2014 release.”

    That’s Warhammer 40.000: Dawn of War III for sure.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. Christopher Jack

    Well I sincerely hope that the developers survive this transitional period and that all current games in development make it to shelves.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. Uncontested

    Sigh.. So CoH2 basically is guaranteed zero post release patch support now…

    #31 2 years ago
  32. NeoSquall

    @32 Where did you get that? Relic is still in business and it’s a developer too important to be left to die.

    #32 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    A look at how to create your own emblems in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was demonstrated in the latest Kojima Station broadcast, along with a look at the bionic arm replica included in the limited edition. A Venom Snake emblem will come with the limited edition version of the game, parts of […]

  • Elite: Dangerous coming to PS4 once Xbox One exclusivity period ends

    Elite: Dangerous was announced for Xbox One at GDC 2015 yesterday, and those disappointed over the lack of a PlayStation 4 announcement will be pleased to know it’s in the cards. According to Frontier boss David Braben the space-sim will head to PS4 at some point, once the console exclusivity deal with Microsoft has expired. […]

  • Here’s two new The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt screenshots to salivate over

    Two new screenshots from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have been released, and they are gorgeous as always. The screenshots follow the two released over the weekend. You can look at the new images in full HD glory over on Only Single Player. CD Projekt Red is at PAX East this weekend showing off the latest […]

  • Microsoft looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One

    With Windows 10, Xbox One users will soon be able to stream their games to PC. Microsoft is also looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One, according to news out of GDC. Speaking with Polygon at GDC 2015, Xbox program director Mike Ybarra said the company is also looking into the ability to stream […]

  • Free! Vindictus Lann Revamp codes worth €25

    We have 400 Lann Revamp codes worth €25 to giveaway for free to VG247 readers. All you need to do is enter your details in the box below and you’ll be given a code to redeem in game. The codes are for warrior character Lann and offer a 7 day unlimited Inner Armour pass, battle […]

  • US eShop update: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli and a demo version of Azure Striker GUNVOL. Your full update is below. eShop Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars – Wii U, 3DS – Cross Buy OlliOlli – Wii U, 3DS – Cross-Buy Proun+ – Proun+ […]

  • Rock Band 4 confirmed for Xbox One and PS4: supports old instruments and 2,168 songs

    Harmonix has lifted the lid on the long-rumoured Rock Band 4, stating it will support 2,168 previously released tracks and last-gen instruments on PS4 and Xbox One. The game will be out this year. Harmonix has yet to reveal specific features for the game, but it has been built with a completely new engine. As […]

  • First run of Rodea the Sky Soldier copies on Wii U come with Wii version

    The first print run of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will come with the Wii version packed in, NIS America has confirmed. The publisher confirmed today in a press release that anyone who buys the first run of the retail version of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will find the Wii […]

  • Unreal Tournament 4 lets modders sell cosmetic items to players

    Unreal Tournament 4 is a game built with the help of the modding community. So it’s only natural that it will feature a marketplace where all cosmetic items can be sold. Epic Games has confirmed that it will allow modders from the community to sell the cosmetics items they’ve created on the game’s marketplace. The […]

  • D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is coming to PC – rumour

    SWERY 65 has shown off D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die running on PC at GDC this week, teasing that a possible port may be on the way. D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is SWERY 65′s latest project. An episodic detective affair, D4 came out on Xbox One last September and utilised Kinect as its main […]

  • Valve’s Lighthouse, VR controllers and more explained

    Valve’s less-talked about prototype VR controllers and its Lighthouse technology have been shown in more detail. When HTC announced Vive, the VR headset it’s working on with Valve, it mentioned “base stations” and ergonomic controllers. Now we know what they meant by that. The controllers are still in prototype phase, and will look better when […]

  • Listen to two professional Counter-Strike players explain why Dust2 is so popular

    Hear what makes iconic Counter-Strike map Dust2 one of the most popular maps in shooter history from two former eSports players. Sal “Volcano” Garozzo and Shawn “FMPONE” Snelling are both retired professional Counter-Strike players who are currently working as designers. At GDC this year, the pair hosted a panel titled “Community Level Design for Competitive […]

  • Core Morpheus hardware locked in, no plans for wireless version

    Sony has finalised the core hardware for its VR headset Project Morpheus, and does not currently plan on releasing a wireless version. SCE Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida spoke to Gamespot at GDC and confirmed that the core hardware of Morpheus is “pretty much done” but that “lots of tweaks and improvements” are still being […]

  • Watch the full Phil Spencer keynote from GDC 2015

    The full GDC 2015 keynote of Xbox boss Phil Spencer is now available to watch. In case you missed last nights’s Phil Spencer keynote at GDC 2015, the whole thing has been made available to watch on YouTube. The address is titled “The Future of Gaming Across the Microsoft Ecosytem,” and it’s where Spencer announced […]

  • Elite: Dangerous won’t be “dumbed down” for Xbox One

    The Xbox One version of Elite: Dangerous will in fact be the same as the PC one. Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier came out on stage last night at GDC to announce the game making its console debut on Xbox One. Some have feared that the port would not provide the same experience as the PC […]

  • Virtual reality: by gum, it’s really happening

    Virtual reality has exited the realm of peripheral gimmick and turned into something that just might go mainstream. VR has an uphill battle ahead of it. The tech is going to be expensive, and there are a number of problems that need to be solved before it could be considered an inclusive technology (motion sickness, […]

  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor takes Game of the Year at GDC Awards 2015

    And the winner is: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor beat out Alien: Isolation, Bayonetta 2, Destiny, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to win Game of the Year at the Game Developer’s Choice Awards 2015. Elsewhere in the awards, Ustwo’s mobile hit Monument Valley was a stand-out favourite, with wins in the Innovation, […]

  • Alien: Isolation was prototyped in third-person – video

    Alien: Isolation is one of the most effectively scary triple-A games in years, but it didn’t start off a perfect creation of pure terror. Creative Assembly prototyped Alien: Isolation in third-person perspective before they nailed down the final approach. The developer revealed this during a GDC 2015 presentation, and it’s a good reminder that games […]

  • Madden 15 added to EA Vault

    Madden 15 is now included in EA’s all-you-can-eat subscriber service. Madden 15 is the ninth game to be added to the EA Vault, a stash of games available on demand for EA Access subscribers. It's still Madden Season for EA Access members – Madden NFL 15 is now in The Vault for all members. Go […]

  • Source Engine 2 doesn’t have hidden costs or royalties – but is Steam exclusive

    Three major engines went free at GDC 2015, and each of them is monetising in a different way. There’s been a heck of a lot of discussion about development tools and the costs associated with them during GDC 2015. First Epic announced that Unreal Engine 4 would be free, bar royalities on successful releases. Then […]

  • Final Fantasy creator hates sequels

    Final Fantasy, a byword in prolific franchises, was created by a man who hates sequel. Final Fantasy games are famous for being reinvented with each core release, and it was not until series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi began to withdraw from the franchise after Final Fantasy 9 that we started seeing regular sequels and spin-offs. Speaking […]

  • Guardian complaints led to the closure of Destiny’s Loot Cave

    Destiny players are to blame for the shuttering of the much loved Loot Cave. Early in Destiny‘s history, many players got hugely excited about the “Loot Cave”. Accessible shortly after starting the game for the first time, this high-volume spawn point allowed players to stand in one place, taking out waves and waves of low-level […]

  • Xbox and PC games boss Phil Harrison to leave Microsoft – rumour

    Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business VP and EMEA head of games Phil Harrison is rumoured to have thrown in the towel. Microsoft has not issued a statement on Harrison’s alleged departure, despite repeated questioning by press at GDC 2015. Instead, word comes via multiple sources speaking to GamesIndustry at the show. According to the rumours, Harrison […]

  • Metal Gear Online commentated trailer explains stuffed dog – but not invisibility

    Metal Gear Online developer Kojima Productions has provided significantly more insight into how the multiplayer side of The Phantom Pain works. Metal Gear Online is the online multiplayer component of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Konami hasn’t shared a great deal about it yet, but we did see a very cool Metal Gear […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Xbox One trailer shows off space MMO

    If Elite: Dangerous looks this good on Xbox One we have nothing to complain about. Microsoft revealed Elite: Dangerous is coming to Xbox One this year during its GDC presentations today. We don’t know very much about the port, but I suppose we ought to have expected it; Frontier Developments has a very close relationship […]

  • Battletoads to appear in Shovel Knight Xbox One

    A Battletoads remake must be on the horizon. Right? Right?? The Battletoads will appear in the upcoming Xbox One version of Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games revealed today. The Battletoads drop in for a fight! Shovel Knight is headed to Xbox One and meets up with @RareLtd brawling trio! pic.twitter.com/OCQIuWbH3W — Yacht Club Games (@YachtClubGames) […]

  • The Division pre-alpha footage leaks, Ubisoft says it’s well out of date

    The Division fans finally got a look at Ubisoft’s MMO this week, but the publisher has said the footage is not in any way representative. Pre-alpha footage of the The Division was leaked this week, but has since been thoroughly smacked down by takedown notices. All that remains are a few screenshots and a GIF: […]

  • Microsoft HoloLens designer killed in hit and run accident

    Very sad news out of Redmond this week, as Mike Ey was killed in a tragic accident. Ey, 30, was one of the key project designers on Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset. He was killed on Saturday morning in a rear-end collision. The driver of the second vehicle fled the scene but was tracked down by […]

  • AMD throws support behind VR with new low-latency anti-nausea tech

    GPU manufacturer AMD has released a new SDK compatible with “a broad set of VR devices”. Called LiquidVR, the tech is designed to “bring better content, comfort, and compatibility to VR applications” including games, simulation, entertainment, education, social media, travel, medicine, real estate and ecommerce, apparently. AMD said maintaining comfort and realism in VR environments […]

  • Danganronpa 3 in the works, but a long way off yet

    A new Danganronpa is happening. Danganronpa 3 is in the very, very early production stages, writer Kodaka Kazutaka has confirmed. Nothing about the project is “set in stone”, Kazutaka told Polygon, so there are no details to share yet; the characters and story may change several times before being finalised. The writer said he’s weighing […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League 2015 schedule announced

    Major League Gaming has announced the full schedule for the 2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League. The eSpots firm revealed two more seasons of Pro League, a live Relegation tournament for Season Three, and a season ending World Championship with $250,000 up for grabs You can watch all the action on MLG.tv […]

  • Happy Birthday PlayStation 2, you are almost old enough to drive

    Amidst all the GDC 2015 hoopla today, we forgot to wish PlayStation 2 a Happy Birthday. The system turned 15 years old today, going by its March 4, 2000 launch date in Japan. It was released in the west that autumn, and had shipped 100 million units in less than six years post launch. PS2 […]

  • Here’s what the final version of Valve’s Steam Controller looks like

    A look at the updated Steam Controller has surfaced via a hands-on post from Polygon. Valve said what you see in the images below is the final version of the controller. The controller has gone through numerous revisions since it was first revealed, but it seems Valve has decided on two touch pads which work […]

  • The Sims, SimCity developer closed down

    The Sims 4 developer Maxis has been shuttered, EA has confirmed. The Sims, SimCity and the rest of the Sim franchise has traditionally been helmed by Maxis, which had its flagship studio in Emeryville, California. Now EA has confirmed with Kotaku that this studio is being closed. “Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to […]

  • Gigantic MOBA coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One with cross-play

    Today during GDC 2015, Microsoft announced that the new IP from Motiga called Gigantic will be cross-play enabled. Slated for Windows 10 and Xbox One, the five-on-five third-person battle arena game allows the player to select from an array of heroes with distinctive powers and play styles. Players will then make their way through areas […]

  • Here’s a look at Unreal Tournament DirectX 12 gameplay

    Epic Games is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which Microsoft says “sets a new bar for visual fidelity.” DirectX 12 is a single API developers can access across Windows devices, which can result in a 20% improvement in performance over DX11 running on the same machine. The Unreal Tournament […]

  • Wireless adapter for Xbox One controllers out later this year

    Microsoft announced at GDC 2015 today it will that all wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, a wireless adapter will be released, allowing current Xbox controllers and future devices to be used wirelessly on PCs. This will […]