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THQ could be split up and sold off, judge rules

THQ could be split up and sold off, judge rules

THQ could yet be split up, with a judge ruling that should aggregate offers total more than any single offer the company will be forced to accept.

The future of games publisher THQ, responsible for popular franchises including S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (and what a pain that is to type), Metro 2033, Darksiders, Saints Row and Dawn of War, continues to prove uncertain as a judge rules that the company could be broken up into teeny-tiny parts following its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Things haven't been happy at THQ for some time: despite splashing out on a smooth new logo in 2011, the company has spent the last few years battling ongoing losses interspersed with brief periods of profitability. Back in 2008, THQ was forced to sack 250 staff due to impressive losses, while in 2009 it followed that up with a staggering $430 million loss. Recently, the company has been looking to increase its customer base, partnering with Humble Bundle on the company's first bundle to not include Linux support even as THQ itself promised to investigate Linux support for future releases.

The filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, announced by president Jason Rubin late last year, was seen as the last straw for the company as it exists today - coming as it did hot on the heels that it would miss the launch dates for the bulk of its upcoming titles including Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light and South Park: The Stick of Truth.

In an attempt to recover, Rubin announced that investment outfit the Clearlake Capital Group had made an offer to purchase the company - but, as part of the Chapter 11 process, in which a company is protected from bankruptcy as it attempts to drum up the cash required to continue operating, other outfits would be given a chance to place a bid for the company.

That part of Chapter 11 proceedings may, a judge has ruled, result in THQ being broken up. Under Chapter 11 regulations, it's possible for investors to bid on sections of a company - for example, only the part of the company responsible for a particular intellectual property - rather than the company as a whole. Should the offers for portions of the company total a higher sum than any single outright offer, the company will be split up - with one investment group getting the rights to the Metro franchise, another the rights to Darksiders, still another to Saints Row and so forth.

It's a chilling prospect for THQ's fans, but one company chair and chief executive Brian Farrel is downplaying - despite a ruling from the US Bankruptcy Court that it would not be able to refuse offers that would see the company broken up. 'Today's ruling provides a clear path. We will now know definitively by January 23rd where we stand,' Farrell claimed in a statement to press. 'We appreciate the support of our employees, partners, and suppliers now more than ever.'

The final bids for THQ will be tallied up by the 22nd of January, following which time the company will discover whether it has been saved by Clearlake Capital Group or doomed to be split up and shared among its rivals.

15 Comments

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Krikkit 14th January 2013, 12:27 Quote
Oh dear, chances of CoH2 and SP:SoT actually getting released then?

Definitely a shame, as THQ have provided some excellent games over the years, what was the cause of their huge losses?
SlowMotionSuicide 14th January 2013, 12:48 Quote
uDraw, among other things. Basically they've been burning obnoxious amounts of cash trying to tap the holy grail of casual gaming, and things backfired quite seriously.
Lenderz 14th January 2013, 12:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit
Oh dear, chances of CoH2 and SP:SoT actually getting released then?

Definitely a shame, as THQ have provided some excellent games over the years, what was the cause of their huge losses?

100% certain, its pretty much done and is being QC'ed at this time, I'd say theres nothing that could stop it releasing. Any purchaser if they did buy the franchise or dev house at this late stage would want to release the "completed" games anyway, and would likely be legally obligated to take on liabilities (pre-orders).
liratheal 14th January 2013, 13:13 Quote
I get the feeling THQ is going to get broken up.

I just hope the Warhammer 40,000 rights don't end up with the likes of EA, those ****monkeys would ruin it :/ Same goes for Saints Row, for that matter.
DragunovHUN 14th January 2013, 13:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
[...]those ****monkeys would ruin it :/ Same goes for Saints Row, for that matter.

Well, Saints Row 3 already had less features than SR2 and more DLC than a sims game has expansions anyway* :|


*Did not actually count
Griffter 14th January 2013, 13:34 Quote
i hope valve buys all the properties... i can only hope.. but then we might have to wait 12yrs in between titles :-( there is no hope
Baz 14th January 2013, 13:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowMotionSuicide
uDraw, among other things. Basically they've been burning obnoxious amounts of cash trying to tap the holy grail of casual gaming, and things backfired quite seriously.

Wow, I'd never even heard of this. 1.4 million unsold units, geez, what a disaster!
Mankz 14th January 2013, 14:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baz
Wow, I'd never even heard of this. 1.4 million unsold units, geez, what a disaster!

I could have told them that would flop for an awful lot less than the $100m they lost..
rollo 14th January 2013, 14:23 Quote
THQ is not the first failed publisher and will not be the last. EA will likely try and buy the popular titles COH Saints row, Warhammer. The rest would likely not be brought by them. As in truth the last major publisher them going to EA would at least see them have some future.

As for pre orders there is no legal right as you have only paid a small deposit in most cases. Those sites that take full cash would likely refund the money, if you paid by credit card ( as you always should in online shopping would refund the cash for you as they are first in line on creditors list)

Similar if hmv went bankrupt and you had DVD pre orders if someone brought them they would not be obliged to give you anything.

Valve are a relitively tiny publisher house. They have only released a few titles in many years. Dou't they would want to buy a publisher like THQ.

The disadvantage of any buyout is the pc titles would likely be delayed till after console releases.
blacko 14th January 2013, 15:37 Quote
Only franchise i can see going to EA is the WWE one.

I believe Valve will take CoH.

as for the Warhammer franchise....Blizzard Activision.
towelie 14th January 2013, 17:37 Quote
Metro:2033 First light save yourself!!
ccxo 14th January 2013, 18:49 Quote
I wonder if Sega will bid to take the Warhammer 40k license as they have gotten the Warhammer one from THQ- at least they would take 40k back to the first dow not the coh clone that is dow2.

Though GW may even pull the license from THQ as if the company goes relic may disappear as well.
Blademrk 15th January 2013, 10:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baz
Wow, I'd never even heard of this. 1.4 million unsold units, geez, what a disaster!

I've got 2 for the 360, bought one each for my nephew (8) and niece (7) when they were going for £20 on Amazon around February last year.

Cleo loves playing on hers (but then, she loves drawing) and the art program that comes with it isn't too bad.

Haven't picked up any other games for it though (was tempted to get the marvel superhero one for Taylor, and the Pictionary one for Cleo as they're cheap enough at the moment ~£7).
spectre456 15th January 2013, 14:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by blacko
Only franchise i can see going to EA is the WWE one.

I believe Valve will take CoH.

as for the Warhammer franchise....Blizzard Activision.

why would Blizzard want 40k when they have Warcraft/Starcraft? Furthermore, i doubt you could buy 40k from THQ since they pay for the rights from Games Workshop.

I also doubt valve would buy up COH. It just doesn"t seem like them.
blacko 18th January 2013, 11:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by spectre456
Quote:
Originally Posted by blacko
Only franchise i can see going to EA is the WWE one.

I believe Valve will take CoH.

as for the Warhammer franchise....Blizzard Activision.

why would Blizzard want 40k when they have Warcraft/Starcraft? Furthermore, i doubt you could buy 40k from THQ since they pay for the rights from Games Workshop.

I also doubt valve would buy up COH. It just doesn"t seem like them.

40K universe + titan
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