According to reports on the legal challenges of embattled publisher THQ's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, court rulings have resulted in both an extension of the auction date, and more significantly, the breaking up of the company's assets into "title by title" auctions (thanks Polygon).
THQ's strategy when filing bankruptcy protection had primarily been an attempt to keep the band together so-to-speak, with investment firm Clearlake Capital having calculated a deal to function as a "stalking horse bidder". However, a group of the publishers creditors protested this move, indicating that the requirement to sell the publisher as a complete package limited the opportunity for competitive bids, and the prices their assets could yield if sold piecemeal.
The auction is now set to commence at 3pm January 22nd PST, with bids being only open for "certain assets (titles, studios, e.t.c.)", all but ensuring the splitting up of THQ's studios, games, and franchises. The expected outcome is that some of the more riskier projects may end up shelved, as their development would have needed to rely on capital earned from the more proven lucrative franchises.
THQ's most recent reports claimed to have 10 games in active development, including Metro: Last Light, Company of Heroes 2, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Homefront 2, a new Saints Row game, more Warhammer 40,000 licensed titles, and new IP in the works at both Turtle Rock and THQ Montreal.
Reports have included at least five potential bidders circling the publisher which are presumed to include major games publishers, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment.
Arg CoH2 would suddenly become a very risky purchase if Ubisoft or EA got their grimy little hands on it.
Whoever is buying would have to be stupid to separate Relic from titles like CoH or Dawn of War though, surely if you were buying one you'd be buying the other and keeping them together.
It looks like things such as Metro, Warhammer wont be sold as THQ doesn't own the license, they just have access to it. COH, Darksiders, Saints Row, etc are at risk of sale though.
Would hate to see EA get their hands on any of these games. I'm a huge fan of most of the stuff THQ puts out and would not get them if they were on Origin exclusive.
Yeah, I wonder how that works, cos while Games Workshop own the rights to Warhammer 40k, Dawn of War itself is still THQ's itself, and I'd assume somewhere in Relic theres a team working on more Dawn of War stuff, so what happens to that? I guess maybe it could get sold and repurposed as a different sci-fi RTS, or maybe Games Workshop can come to an agreement with whoever buys it. Hope it doesn't mean the end of 40k games :(
For the games/franchises that THQ doesn't outright own, they still currently hold the publishing rights. I'm just guessing that it would depend on how those various contracts are written up, but presumably other companies could also be able to bid on acquiring those publishing rights for the third-party developed stuff like Metro and South Park, which would fetch a high price due to their completeness and existing marketing foundation.
You'd have to imagine EA would be pretty keen to nab the WWE license if that's possible in this process.
Will be on the lookout for credible analysis from investment/lawyer types over the next couple of days to confirm if that's how it works.
It also seems reasonable to expect that the four in-house developers Volition, Vigil, Relic, and THQ Montreal would be sold as a package with whatever games they are working on, because it would reduce the value of both the studio and the games if they were split up, and if the whole point is to maximise the sale price for the creditors, surely it would be counterproductive to force each studio to be bid on individually from the games they are in t he middle of.
Thankfully COH2s release is so imminent that I can't imagine that anyone will be able to f*** that up except THQ themselves.
I could see EA re-branding the Company of Heroes franchise to fit into Call of Duty
EA doesn't own COD.