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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 short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront has been posted by EA on Twitter. Well, that speeder isn't going anywhere. Can someone give us a lift to @SW_Celebration http://t.co/srEVrAA0zl #SWCA https://t.co/4W4LG8myke — EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) March 25, 2015 The teaser shows vehicles which we could be using in the game, but it mainly shows the snowy landscape […]

  • Pillars of Eternity releases today – get all the review scores here

    Pillars of Eternity, which still stands as the second most-funded video game on Kickstarter, finally releases today. It’s also getting some rather positive reviews scores, which we’ve rounded up for you. The isometric, party-based RPG from Obsidian Entertainment was one of the first video game projects to take to Kickstarter, and hit its $1.1 million […]

  • Take an in-depth look at Evolve’s Behemoth monster and four new hunters

    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    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 […]