Judge Denies THQ Bankruptcy Sale - UPDATED

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Judge Denies THQ Bankruptcy Sale - UPDATED

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Roughly ten parties including Warner Bros. have come forward to express interest in the bankrupt publisher.

A U.S. Bankruptcy Judge has ruled in favor of opponents to THQ's fast-paced bankruptcy sale, including lenders and the trustee overseeing the process, who complained last week that the company was moving ahead too quickly with the sale and trying too hard to keep it intact, possibly to the detriment of investors. Judge Mary Walrath agreed, pointing out that THQ didn't even publicly announce that it was for sale until potential buyers had signed non-disclosure agreements.

Significant levels of interest have since been expressed in the company and its properties, which Walrath said demonstrates that the process has thus far been inadequate. Among those interested is Warner Bros., which acquired Midway in 2009 for $33 million in a deal that spelled the end of the Mortal Kombat studio. That's a fate THQ is trying to avoid, and also one of the central complaints of the bankruptcy opponents, who said the proposed bankruptcy process is designed to "ensure that the Debtors consummate the sale of their business 'as a whole' to Clearlake, regardless of whether such a sale is in the best interests of the Debtors' unsecured creditors."

"I am not convinced that we are under the gun to have a sale process by the 15th," Walrath said. Another hearing is scheduled to take place today and in the meantime, she added, "I think the parties need to talk."

THQ reported assets of $204.8 million and debt of $248.1 million in its bankruptcy filing, made December 19, 2012.

UPDATE: According to the Distressed Debt Investing Twitter feed, the THQ auction has been delayed to January 22 in order to allow interested parties more time to get involved. More significantly, the auction will allow THQ to be sold off piecemeal, meaning that companies will be able to bid on and acquire individual IPs and studios. Electronic Arts is reportedly interested in some properties and has completed "site visits" related to them. It remains possible that THQ could be purchased as a whole, but it seems far more likely at this point that its days are very nearly over.

Source: Business Week

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Oh goodie, the sharks have smelled blood in the water.

Now they swarm.

Well it's only a matter of time before we see the end of THQ.

I said nobody was going to buy you whole didn't I?
How pathetic can you get THQ? You know I bet you could wipe out that debt simply by canceling all management bonuses.

Warner Bros. bought out some franchises from Midway... and we got an amazingly awesome Mortal Kombat out of it.

what a sad fate. They almost managed to stay in one piece, but now they are fucked. just... rightly fucked. There goes some fantastic franchises, at least to the quality that they were. There goes relic's dawn of war and Company of Heroes, at least not abused to death. There goes Saints row, but at least that 3rd game was fucking awesome. So much for metro.

Fuck

I can't imagine this will be the death of the franchises under THQ. The Humble Bundle and the Steam Holiday Sale proved there's still interest, a lot of interest, and gave access on the ground floor to a lot of gamers. Sitting on these properties, no matter where they end up, would be the kind of absurd action that results in boards making no-confidence votes.

That said, I'll hold back on being upset or excited until I see where this stuff ends up. If the right properties go to the right folks, this might not turn out horribly. If people start doing blind-grabs for properties and try to Guitar Hero their money back with rapid-fire cash-ins on the names, however, they and myself will be disappointed with the results.

Though this does bring up the interesting question of what becomes of the games nearly-finished. Are we going to end up seeing some Duke Nukem Forever/Brutal Legend moments where games end up under some other studio/publisher who will have to take the credit/blame regardless of how close to release the games are?

DVS BSTrD:
I said nobody was going to buy you whole didn't I?
How pathetic can you get THQ? You know I bet you could wipe out that debt simply by canceling all management bonuses.

There was a company that was going to buy them whole, Clearlake Capital. The people wanting to break THQ apart and feast on the remains successfully convinced a judge that keeping a company whole and making money is worse than tearing it to pieces. And people wonder why our economy is a freaking mess.

Yagami_Kira:

DVS BSTrD:
I said nobody was going to buy you whole didn't I?
How pathetic can you get THQ? You know I bet you could wipe out that debt simply by canceling all management bonuses.

There was a company that was going to buy them whole, Clearlake Capital. The people wanting to break THQ apart and feast on the remains successfully convinced a judge that keeping a company whole and making money is worse than tearing it to pieces. And people wonder why our economy is a freaking mess.

They wanted to buy it whole without any competition which is against the law.

shintakie10:

Yagami_Kira:

DVS BSTrD:
I said nobody was going to buy you whole didn't I?
How pathetic can you get THQ? You know I bet you could wipe out that debt simply by canceling all management bonuses.

There was a company that was going to buy them whole, Clearlake Capital. The people wanting to break THQ apart and feast on the remains successfully convinced a judge that keeping a company whole and making money is worse than tearing it to pieces. And people wonder why our economy is a freaking mess.

They wanted to buy it whole without any competition which is against the law.

No, no its not, a company doesn't have to accept bids to sell itself if the shareholders agree to the sale. There is some fishiness regarding the sale, like the current THQ CEO being friends with the clearlake guys, but selling without competition is not against the law.

Remember when you abandoned Red Faction support on PC THQ ? Remember that ? I foretold that failure. Brilliant "Business lies only on the console market" and wishing a failure of PC's have brought you down, along with ridiculously stupid decisions too ;)

Yagami_Kira:

No, no its not, a company doesn't have to accept bids to sell itself if the shareholders agree to the sale. There is some fishiness regarding the sale, like the current THQ CEO being friends with the clearlake guys, but selling without competition is not against the law.

Well actually when you are going through bankruptcy it is against the law. They have a legal obligation to their creditors to try and raise as much money as they can from the sale of the company and assets. This is not what THQ was trying to do with the clearlake deal and instead they were just trying to keep the company whole.

Also the shareholders do not matter in the slightest at this point. They have no say in anything anymore.

Who knows maybe we'll see something good out of this. Personally I'm hoping Take-Two (and by extension Rockstar) picks up the saints row rights since after SR3 I doubt even a company like EA could could screw up the series even worse. Still at least not many series I follow are affected by this.

Well it looks like it's the end for THQ. Let us hope that whoever gets their IPs puts them to good use. *chants "not EA, not EA" under breath*

Quazimofo:
what a sad fate. They almost managed to stay in one piece, but now they are fucked. just... rightly fucked. There goes some fantastic franchises, at least to the quality that they were. There goes relic's dawn of war and Company of Heroes, at least not abused to death. There goes Saints row, but at least that 3rd game was fucking awesome. So much for metro.

Fuck

Only time will tell, but their current projects will be finished I believe, it was part of the bankruptcy thing deal or something.

So that's it, then?

Guess I'll have to wait and see what happens to Darksiders and Metro out of this...

At least Red Faction and Saints Row only elicit thoroughly unenthused "meh"s out of me, and I've never been a huge fan of RTS games, so as sad as it is that fans of the respective franchise may not get any more titles (or worse, live to see those franchises bled dry by yearly releases), at least I won't have to suffer along with them.

And now let the speculation on where everything ends up, begin!

Since it's a yearly franchise, I can only assume WWE will end up with EA. Not sure where I would want the IPs to go to though.

THQ also screwed over their studios... and the Dawn of War franchise got hit HARD by corporate greed.

Damnit and here I thought there was light at the end of the tunnel for a second, for the love of jebuz just let someone with a decent track record get Relic. *pleasenotEApleasenotEApleasenotEA*. Actually while that would suck, my bigger fear at this point is seeing all these franchises go away completely, something like Rockstar buying the Saints Row IP just to sit on it and effectively kill the main compition for GTA.

I really hope the Escapist keeps track of this so we know who takes what ASAP.

Calling it right now...

Pessimistic:
-EA buys SR+WWE and and ruins it
-Activision buy Metro and ruin it
-Capcom buys Darksiders and... well it's Capcom.

Optimistic:
-Take Two buys SR and have like a San Andreas/IV rotation
-Ubisoft buys Darksiders and hopefully give it enough funding to become absolutely amazing
-Square Enix buys Red Faction and hands it over to Avalanche Studios(Just Cause 2 guys)
-WWE dies off
-Zenimax buys Metro and makes it even more immersive

FFP2:
Calling it right now...

Pessimistic:
-EA buys SR+WWE and and ruins it
-Activision buy Metro and ruin it
-Capcom buys Darksiders and... well it's Capcom.

Optimistic:
-Take Two buys SR and have like a San Andreas/IV rotation
-Ubisoft buys Darksiders and hopefully give it enough funding to become absolutely amazing
-Square Enix buys Red Faction and hands it over to Avalanche Studios(Just Cause 2 guys)
-WWE dies off
-Zenimax buys Metro and makes it even more immersive

Metro is owned by 4A games so this has only relevance as to who publishes the game not to who owns the IP.

I thought EA was having enough financial trouble as is, I doubt they can afford to compete with other large publishers when there are studios of this calibre on the line.

FFP2:
Calling it right now...

Pessimistic:
-EA buys SR+WWE and and ruins it
-Activision buy Metro and ruin it
-Capcom buys Darksiders and... well it's Capcom.

Optimistic:
-Take Two buys SR and have like a San Andreas/IV rotation
-Ubisoft buys Darksiders and hopefully give it enough funding to become absolutely amazing
-Square Enix buys Red Faction and hands it over to Avalanche Studios(Just Cause 2 guys)
-WWE dies off
-Zenimax buys Metro and makes it even more immersive

What of 'Company of Heroes' and Relic?

Would they just get bought by Games Workshop? ("Screw it, we want someone to create our 40K games, and you're one of the only guys who've done so, and you've done it good.")

plz let Relic live though this as more then just a shell company
and possibly have them make homeworld 3

hmm i wonder if the new games i like from them will see the light of day

I just hope when the dust settles, someone'll be willing to make another Dark Siders game. Those games have really started to grow on me.

This is all well and good, but who gets Relic and 4A Games?

Whatever happens to the rest, I'll live with. But these developers need a good publisher.

This looks terribly troubling, I just hope that South Park: The Stick of Truth makes it through this unscathed. I'll throw out a hope that EA stays the hell away from Darksiders 3. It's a shame, with the humble bundle and everything else that went down it looked like THQ was going to be able to keep it together and proceed forward...

EA....STAY THE FUCK AWAY...PLEASE!

Well damn.

Who's got the odds on how many IPs will be bought and tossed into cold storage like a freshly killed corpse?

Oh no. Oh nononononono. KEEP EA AWAY FROM VOLITION!

For the love of GOD do NOT let EA acquire Metro, Darksiders, Company of Heroes, or Saint's Row!

Kumagawa Misogi:

Metro is owned by 4A games so this has only relevance as to who publishes the game not to who owns the IP.

So publishers have never influenced the way a game is made? EA making every game they publish have MP and Spec Ops are prime examples of this.

Bolt-206:

What of 'Company of Heroes' and Relic?

Would they just get bought by Games Workshop? ("Screw it, we want someone to create our 40K games, and you're one of the only guys who've done so, and you've done it good.")

I've never played those games so it didn't feel right giving my predictions on what would happen, but I do hope COH gets bought by a good publisher as I have heard nothing but great things about that franchise:-)

I hope whoever buys Relic Entertainment have the sense to leave them alone and do their thing. It would be interesting also if TakeTwo acquired Volition and therefore the Saints Row franchise. A monopoly of sorts on the crime sandbox genre, how would that turn out?

if take two manages to get a hold of saints row Ip they will sink it so it does not compete with grand theft auto its poor form to have your own products compete with other
unless they release them on opposite sides from each other a GTA one year and a saints row the next or something

either way take two getting a hold of saints row will be either a disaster or an unmitigated disaster. actually this whole problem is going to be an unmitigated disaster for most fans of most THQ franchises

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