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.