Last Friday U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary Walrath sided with THQ‘s creditors and put a temporary hold on the struggling publisher’s plans for a quick sale of their assets to Clearlake Capital Group, stating that the January 15th bid deadline was not enough time for other interested bidders to get involved with the process. In a hearing this afternoon the parties have reached a new agreement that will allow for all of THQ‘s franchises to be sold individually at auction.
Distressed Debt Investing reported the ruling from the courtroom on their Twitter account, saying:
“Judge Walrath says that timing proposed by Clearlake is still not enough… THQI auction now on Jan 22nd. The auction will allow for piecemeal (“title by title”) sales of THQ assets”.
It was also confirmed at today’s hearing that Electronic Arts has “completed site visits” to the company’s studios and is a potential buyer — alongside Warner Bros. Entertainment, and possibly Ubisoft — for an unknown number of the publisher’s IPs. Having already picked up the UFC license from THQ last year, EA’s continued interest in acquiring more of their brands on the cheep should not come as a surprise.
With the auction now extended to January 22nd it is likely that other large publishers will soon emerge as potential bidders for all or part of the company’s assets. While THQ has a number of high profile franchises that will attract buyers, the Saints Row IP is sure to bring the most attention. Saints Row: The Third has been one of the publisher’s only hits in recent years, and the open-world game would fill a huge hole in both EA and Warner Bros. Entertainment’s respective lineups. The other benefit to picking up Saints Row is that development is apparently well underway on the fourth game in the series, which is due out sometime next year.
Another THQ asset that might catch EA’s eye during the upcoming auction is Homefront 2, which is currently being developed by Crytek. Electronic Arts and Crytek already have a strong relationship via the Crysis franchise, and the near-future shooter would seem to be a natural fit within EA’s portfolio.
As the bidding process for THQ unfolds over the next few weeks we will keep an eye out for any new developments and let you know as soon as news on the upcoming auction is announced.
Source: Distressed Debt Investing