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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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    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]

  • Watch Battle Royale for free this weekend on Xbox Live

    Square Enix is celebrating the launch of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD by offering Xbox Live members in the UK a free rental of Battle Royale. Starting Saturday, March 28 and through Sunday, March 29, Xbox Live members in the UK will be able to rent Battle Royale through the Xbox Video Store, for free. The […]

  • Bloodborne journal, part 1: managing anxiety on the path to the Cleric Beast

    Bloodborne is both like and unlike the Souls games. Brenna descends into Yharnam with reluctance and trepidation. Need help succeeding in Bloodborne? You need our Bloodborne walkthrough and boss guide. Bloodborne isn’t Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls. Let’s get that out of the way right off. I enjoyed both Dark Souls games, but it was […]

  • PS Store Easter sale discounts MGS: Ground Zeroes, Far Cry 4, more

    The Easter Sale is live on the EU PS Store, with Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes for less than £10, FIFA 15 Deluxe Edition for £30 and other savings. Some of the PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita discounts are valid through April 8, other through April 15. PlayStation Plus members can also take an […]

  • Bloodborne video: how to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam

    Here’s a video for Bloodborne players showing a quick way to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam. It also provides a look at things you may have missed in Central Yharnam and The Sewers, courtesy of VaatiVidya. Don’t forget, we have guides posted for the game with more updates coming soon. Bloodborne released in […]

  • Bloodborne issue prevents summons at Vicar Amelia fight

    A Bloodborne bug has prevented players calling on help to take on one of the nasty early bosses. Bloodborne bosses are significantly easier to take down in co-op. Unfortunately, at least one of them is proving difficult to find help for – and not just because not many players have obtained the Small Resonant Bell […]

  • Mass Effect 3 on sale on EU PSN, but not free

    Mass Effect 3 is discounted on the European PSN, but it’s not free. Update 2: The option to add to cart now lets you choose between the free trial or full version. The full version is on sale for £6.49 or £5.84 for PlayStation Plus members. The free trial is of course is still available, […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Race to Elite winners announced, one player makes £10,000

    The winners of Elite: Dangerous’ Race To Elite competition have been announced, with one player receiving the grand prize of £10,000. Back when Elite: Dangerous launched, developer Frontier announced a competition that would award players to first reach Elite rank in trading, exploration, or combat, a prize of £1,000 each. The grand prize – £10,000 […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: How to make the most money with Special Bonuses and Elite Challenges

    You’re not hitting heists for the good of your health. Here’s how to max cash rewards. Money. GTA Online players love it. Greenbacks are the core of the entire experience, allowing you to buy the best weapons, vehicles and stupid haircuts. Heists, as promised, gives more opportunities than ever to earn serious cash, but once […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 coming tomorrow

    PlayStation 4 firmware 2.50, codenamed Yukimura, is due for release tomorrow, March 26. Firmware update 2.50 for PlayStation 4 will be launching tomorrow, March 26, Sony has announced. Codenamed Yukimura, the system update is promised to bring suspend/resume feature, trophy sync improvements, accessibility options, and much more. 2.50 has been in beta testing a while […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges and more

    Heists aren’t the only addition in GTA Online’s latest DLC – there’s a lot of content that can earn you big RP and cash payouts. GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges While heists are the talking point and big payoff after more than a year of waiting, there’s a […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: what’s the best Police sniper rifle?

    What’s the best bolt-action, Police sniper rifle for the Professional class in Battlefield Hardline? Let us help you answer that question. As you’re probably aware, Battlefield Hardline weapons are class specific and faction specific. This makes deciding on a good weapon and loadout much harder than it was in Battlefield 4. Which is where Westie […]

  • Evolve 1.3 patch nerfs Wraith, adjusts Kraken

    Evolve is receiving a new patch that aims to put an end to the Wraith’s dominance. Evolve developer Turtle Rock outlined a few of the changes coming in patch 1.3. The patch brings balance changes to the monsters – mainly the Wraith – as well as other various changes to Hunters’ tools based on player […]

  • Bloodborne: watch the opening 40 minutes

    The opening minutes of Bloodborne really do set the stage for what’s to come. They’ll also help you decide if this game is for you. Arekkz Gaming has captured the first 40 minutes of Bloodborne. Complete with the opening cutscene, and the first few obstacles you’ll face. The video is commentary free, so wear headphones […]

  • YouTube will relaunch livestreaming service with focus on eSports and gaming – report

    According to industry sources, Google is preparing to relaunch YouTube’s livestreaming service with a focus on eSports and gaming. According to anonymous sources speaking to TheDailyDot, Google is planning to bring back YouTube’s livestreaming service. The company is said to have started recruiting around 50 engineers with experience in the field, “a pretty big statement […]

  • I think I’m too old for Final Fantasy 15

    Final Fantasy 15 was nine years in the making – and counting. Are we the same people we were in 2006? Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae A demo available for PS4 and Xbox One. Offers a couple of hours of gameplay. More if you jump over the borders. Bundled with Final Fantasy 15 Type-0 and […]

  • New multiplayer mode for Splatoon announced

    Nintendo has sent over three screenshots for Splatoon along with information on the Wii U another of the title’s multiplayer modes. Called Ranked Battle, it keeps track of each player’s online ranking. Splat Zones is one of the additional ways to play online in this mode. It differs from Turf War, which is the main […]

  • 2015 WoW Arena World Championship has a $250,000 prize pool

    Blizzard has announced the WoW Arena World Championship will culminate at BlizzCon 2015. World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena teams from around the globe will compete for spot at the 2015 WoW Arena World Championship and for a share in the $250,000 prize pool. Online qualifiers will be held for North America, Southeast Asia, Australia, New […]