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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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    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]

  • Lapsed Final Fantasy 14 players tempted back with 10 day freebie

    Square is offering lapsed FF 14: A Realm Reborn players a chance to come back to the game for 10 days worth of free adventuring. Provided you’ve already bought and registered an account you’ll be able to play free of charge from Feb 27 to March 9. Square wants you to sample the new content […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Sledgehammer looking at “opportunities” to recreate classic Call of Duty maps

    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]

  • Darksiders creator teases Battle Chasers game

    Joe Madureira, creator of Darksiders, has released art that strongly suggests a Battle Chasers game is in the works. Battle Chasers was a comic book from the late 1990s that suffered notorious production problems between issues and was never finished. Madureira formed Airship Syndicate after the collapse of THQ, where he co-created Darksiders. His latest […]

  • Infamous video nasty Axe recreated in GTA 5

    The trailer for notorious horror movie Axe has been recreated in GTA 5. The shot for shot remake is the work of gigerbrick who has previously recreated exploitation flicks like Machete and Hostel using Lego. The original Axe movie was banned in 1984 in the UK but passed with cuts in the late 1990s. Movie […]

  • Payday 2 for PS4 and Xbox One includes “a year’s worth of paid DLC” for free

    Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will include a year’s worth of paid DLC from the PC version of the game for free. The new-gen version of the game will be available June 2015, and includes almost all of the paid and free DLC released so far for Overkill’s popular first-person shooter. That DLC includes The Big […]

  • Yes, Mortal Kombat X will require Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus

    Mortal Kombat X won’t bypass Microsoft and Sony’s premium online play requirements. Reports that Mortal Kombat X wouldn’t require PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold started circling earlier this week thanks to a communications error. Answering fan questions on Twitter, producer Shaun Himmerick accidentally gave the impression that premium console subs would not be required […]

  • This is what Destiny players most want next

    Destiny patch 1.1.1 has resolved or at least addressed a number of complaints voiced by the community, but there are plenty more. des Destiny community manage David “Deej” Dague has put out a call for Guardians to share their concerns – or rather, what they think the community is most concerned about. “Set aside your […]

  • Google AI can play games now, so we’re probably all going to die

    Google has brought us one step closer to our inevitable slaughter or enslavement by machine overlords. Google has developed an AI that can learn to play video games and devise brand new strategies. Let me just rephrase that: Google has created an AI that can teach itself new skills, including how to play video games. […]

  • First footage of Renowned Explorers: International Society surfaces

    Renowned Explorers: International Society is a turn-based strategy game from the team behind Reus, and it looks great. Renowned Explorers was announced almost a full year ago, but has been pretty quiet since then. Developer Abbey games has now announced that the game has hit alpha, and will be open to select testers soon. You […]

  • Cities: Skylines developer commits to mod support

    Cities: Skylines will fully support the modding community. Hailing from famously mod-friendly publisher Paradox, Cities: Skylines is a no-brainer for mod support – especially as a lack of mod support is one of the things SimCity was so heavily criticised for when it firts launched. In the developer diary below, Paradox’s Jakob Munthe is joined […]

  • Nosgoth update adds Vanguard, many fixes

    Nosgoth, the free-to-play multiplayer brawler set in the Legacy of Kain universe, has been given a significant makeover. The major feature of the latest Nosogth game update is a new playable human character called the Vanguard. “Equipped with mighty throwing axes and a shield, the Vanguard can take more punishment than any human class that […]

  • Xbox Live Gold 12 month sub $40 on Microsoft store

    Microsoft is offering $20 off 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at the moment. An Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscription will normally set you back $60, but a Microsoft Store promotion has it on offer for $40. The offer is restricted to the US store. Although you can opt to grab your sub as […]

  • Tomb Raider movie script to be penned by TMNT writer

    Tomb Raider will be Evan Daugherty’s second reboot of an established universe. The Tomb Raider movie reboot has signed on a writer and a distributor. Deadline reports Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White And The Huntsman and G.I. Joe 3 writer Daugherty will write the film. Additionally, Warner Bros. has signed on to distribute, […]

  • Shelter 2 pre-orders open, launch trailer debuts early

    Shelter 2 is a game in which you are a mother lynx and must protect a den of kittens. Yes, it’s delightful. Shelter 2 is coming to Mac and PC on March 9. Pre-orders are now available on Steam at 10% off or on GOG.com with a free skin and soundtrack, or 20% off if […]

  • That Batman: Arkham Knight trailer is full of codes

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s trailer is like a Transformer – there’s more than meets the eye. The new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer contains a number of codes. Eagle-eyed users have spotted four so far, and work on cracking their meaning is progressing. According to an /r/games thread rounding up results so far, the codes pertain to […]

  • Assassin’s Creed haystacks won’t save you from a fall

    Assassin’s Creed fans, don’t try this at home. Assassin’s Creed characters can survive falls of almost any distance as long as they aim for the haystacks scattered handily throughout the environment. As you probably deduced from your familiarity with common sense, this isn’t a real thing: falling from heights kills you, the same way a […]

  • Why are people buying PS4 and not Xbox One?

    PS4 is outselling Xbox One – but why? A new report may have the answer. Last month, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US again, returning it to the top of the charts after just two months away. Why? What has caused this reversal in fortunes in Microsoft’s home territory? According to a […]

  • Toejam and Earl are back with a new Kickstarter

    The early 90′s are alive and well in a new bid to bring back Toejam and Earl. Toejam and Earl released for Mega Drive (Genesis, Americans) in 1991, and the eponymous characters went on to count among Sega’s best-known characters. They appeared in a platformer, a light gun shooter and finally a 2002 Xbox game […]

  • New Wander trailer shows off Azertash form

    Wander is a collaborative, non-combat MMO in which you can take on a number of unique forms. Wander players begin as an ambulant tree called an Oren and can progress through several different bodies as they explore the environment, learning its secrets. One of these, which we’d not seen before this trailer, is the amphibious […]

  • SOMA approaching beta phase on PC and PS4

    SOMA, the new horror game from the Amnesia: The Dark Descent crew, is getting close to playable. Frictional Games has apologised for its recent silence over the project, but said it’s focused on reaching beta. Sorry all for the silence! We're closing in on Beta and everyone's working hard to get there. Once that's done, […]

  • Square Enix does not condone Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest HD Remaster

    Square Enix has said it’s not involved with a fan remake of Final Fantasy spin-off Mystic Quest. 1992 SNES game Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is being remade by Dark Design as Mystic Quest HD Remaster. The developer is even taking pre-orders for the project. Unfortunately, it looks like it is in no position to be […]

  • New Hunger teaser released by LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developers

    LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developers Tarsier Studios have released a teaser trailer for Hunger, which was announced in May 2014 at the Nordic Game Conference. The game has been rumored to be the firm’s unannounced Sony project since 2010. Platforms are still to be announced, but the studio became a first-party SCE developer a few years back, […]

  • Here’s two Mario Party 10 overview videos, one featuring amiibo

    Overview videos for Mario Party 10 and the amiibo which work with the title have been released by Nintendo Japan. Obviously each one is in Japanese, but you get the gist all the same. Mario Party 10 releases on Wii U March 20 in North America and Europe. Thanks, AGB.

  • Clan Raids announced for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Companion App

    Activision has announced a new Clan Raids mode will be made available through the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Companion App. According to the CoD community blog, raids are time-based challenges where success earns you a spot on the Clan Raids leaderboards and new Clan Raid-exclusive in-game gear like the Equilibrium set. Clan members will […]

  • Play Battlefield Hardline starting March 12 through EA Access

    Xbox One users with an EA Access subscription will be able to play 10 hours worth of Battlefield Hardline starting March 12. EA Access members will are being granted access to the game five days before the street date, with full multiplayer and all saves transferring over into the main game. It was announced yesterday […]

  • This video summarizes the contents of Destiny patch 1.1.1

    With Destiny patch 1.1.1 now available, here’s a video summary of what to expect. In the video above, Arekkz Gaming gives you a rundown of the important bits in the update. Subscribe to Arekkz Gaming for more Destiny tips and trick through the link.

  • Destiny 1.1.1 patch notes out, update is live

    Destiny’s 1.1.1 patch arrives today, so if you have been kicked from activities, it means you will need to download the patch now that it’s live. We will be pushing the 1.1.1 patch for Destiny shortly. Players will be kicked from activities and required to download the patch. — Bungie Help (@BungieHelp) February 25, 2015 […]

  • Payday 2 packs based on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number coming

    Starbreeze has announced another collaboration with Dennaton Games which will see masks based on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number appear in Payday 2. The collaboration consists of two free updates when you acquire Hotline Miami 2 or its deluxe version on Steam from February 25. The two updates, called Hotline Miami Mask Pack and Jacket […]

  • Velocity 2X making its way onto Linux, Mac, PC and Xbox One

    Velocity 2X will be released on Linux, Mac, PC and Xbox One Futurlab has announced. The developer is in charge of the port, which will be published by Sierra. According to Futurlab, the deal with Sierra came about when self-publishing proved to be difficult due to spending “more time doing PR and marketing on Velocity […]

  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number finally has a release date

    A release date for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has been announced, finally. The game will arrive on Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita March 10. It is now available for pre-order on GOG, Humble and Steam for 10% off for $13.49/£10.99. There’s also a Digital Special Edition available which includes tracks from […]

  • Warhammer 40,000: Dark Nexus Arena is a twin stick shooter MOBA for PC

    Warhammer 40,000: Dark Nexus Arena has been announced as a twin stick shooter MOBA blend from Whitebox Interactive. Set for a 2016 release on PC, the game’s beta will be on show at PAX East next month. An Early Access release is slated for Q2 2015 and you can already purchase early access for a […]