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Take-Two Takes Over WWE Franchise From THQ

| 14 Feb 2013 10:35
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The publisher-distributor pins down a deal just as THQ taps out.

Some good news for the WWE fans out there: Take-Two Interactive Software, the owner of 2K Games and Rockstar Games, has brokered an agreement with THQ, Japanese development studio Yuke's, and the WWE to assume control of the WWE videogame franchise, according to court documents filed recently.

Take-Two confirmed that it will take over the publishing role in a statement issued to Polygon. "At this time, the agreement is pending court approval and we anticipate that it will be finalized shortly. We are very excited about the potential of this agreement and will have more to share at the appropriate time." The exact price paid by Take-Two was not disclosed.

The agreement means that WWE and Yuke's are free to draw up new agreements with Take-Two in regards to making future WWE games. Take-Two will also hire about 20 members of THQ's WWE game production staff in the process.

The move will save THQ millions of dollars, as releasing the franchise will nullify any contracts the bankrupt company had with Yuke's and WWE. The current licensing agreement between THQ and WWE was due to expire in 2017, and if broken early THQ would have been obligated to pay $45 million. WWE, however, has chosen to waive the claim, although it still wants another $650,000 in royalties for WWE games sold while THQ was under bankruptcy protection.

Japanese developer Yuke's also agreed to dismiss its claims against THQ, previously declaring it was owed up to $20 million for WWE '13 and another upcoming wrestling title. Instead, it'll receive about $4.5 million worth of shares and a royalty payment of $250,000.

Take-Two's lawyers noted that the move will "minimize the harm to WWE and Yuke's," stating that both companies' claims "would certainly exceed $30 million and might exceed $60 million" had the deal not taken place.

THQ attorney Jeffrey C. Krause says that there are still about $29 million worth of assets left, including the Darksiders franchise.

Source: Bloomberg, Polygon

Disclosure(s): Strauss Zelnick, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., is the head of ZelnickMedia, an investor in both Take-Two and Defy Media, LLC, our parent company. This article was published without approval or consent of ZelnickMedia or Take-Two.
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