Embattled publisher THQ has announced
an asset purchase agreement with a "stalking horse bidder" that will acquire "substantially all of the assets of THQ’s operating business", a deal which includes the in-house studios Vigil, Volition, Relic, and THQ Montreal, and all of the games in development.
The sale will allow THQ to shed certain legacy obligations and emerge with the strong financial backing of a new owner with substantial experience in software and technology.
To facilitate the sale, THQ and its domestic business units have filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The company’s foreign operations, including Canada, are not included in the filings. The company has obtained commitments from Wells Fargo and Clearlake for debtor-in possession (DIP) financing of approximately $37.5 million, subject to Court approval.
THQ will continue operating its business without interruption during the sale period, subject to Court approval of THQ’s first-day motions. 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.
“The sale and filing are necessary next steps to complete THQ’s transformation and position the company for the future, as we remain confident in our existing pipeline of games, the strength of our studios and THQ’s deep bench of talent,” said Brian Farrell, Chairman and CEO of THQ. “We are grateful to our outstanding team of employees, partners and suppliers who have worked with us through this transition. We are pleased to have attracted a strong financial partner for our business, and we hope to complete the sale swiftly to make the process as seamless as possible.”
The situation may not be as dire as some of the words suggest. Our present understanding is that it is expected that a successful bidder would maintain all of the company's healthy aspects, which we'd hope would include all of their currently announced games --chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US is for restructuring, not liquidation.
With purchase totals indicating a starting price of "approximately $60 million", THQ could be scooped up by one of the big publishers, or other private investors should someone see more potential in the company's assets.
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. Let's hope they all survive the ride.