Sections

THQ sold to “stalking horse,” files for bankruptcy

Wednesday, 19th 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.

Breaking news

32 Comments

Sign in to post a comment.

  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 1 year ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

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

    #2 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year ago
  6. Patrick Garratt

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

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Hunam

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

    #7 1 year ago
  8. theevilaires

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

    #8 1 year 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 1 year ago
  10. Old MacDonald

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

    #10 1 year 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 1 year ago
  12. Mike W

    @11

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

    #12 1 year 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 1 year ago
  14. Patrick Garratt

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

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Belmont

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

    #15 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year ago
  19. Belmont

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

    #19 1 year ago
  20. AHA-Lambda

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

    #20 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year ago
  25. AmiralPatate

    So, that’s not surprising at all.

    #25 1 year ago
  26. OlderGamer

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

    #26 1 year 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 1 year ago
  28. Brenna Hillier

    Updated with details of games mentioned in the filings.

    #28 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year ago
  31. Uncontested

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

    #31 1 year 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 1 year ago