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THQ under the hammer

January 8th, 2013 by

I’ve been watching the downfall of THQ with somewhat morbid curiosity, as yet another publisher appears to be going to the wall, but truly, this is not news to any of us.

The writing has been on the wall for the last year, with rumours of THQ’s downfall running parallel to their successful release of Saints Row the Third in November 2011. This was mainly due to the considerable losses being posted by THQ every quarter of 2011, culminating in a net loss of approx. $240Million by the end of the fiscal year in March 2012.

 

It seemed that well timed successful title releases, such as Space Marines and the aforementioned Saints Row, were enough to sate the creditors and investors, and retain THQ’s bouyancy but it was not enough to cover the quarter of a billion liabilities that THQ had hanging over them.

With a Humble Bundle release on Steam for £20, containing a large selection of their top tiles, things just seemed to be inevitable for the ailing publisher. Despite 800,000 sales and a cumulative value of $5 Million from the humble bundle sales, just days after its termination, THQ had filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

In the latest turn of events, a US Bankruptcy Judge has backed the objections to the wholesale transfer of assets to Clearlake Capital which has resulted in the current position THQ now find themselves, which is for the company to be split and assets sold at auction. At this time, clarification has not been announced on which assets will be auctioned off during the upcoming sale. It is always sad to see this happen, and my thoughts go out to the developers currently with THQ who have now been presented with more uncertainty following the new year.

THQ have previously stated that Company of Heroes 2, Metro Last Light and South Park : The Stick of Truth are still scheduled for release in the first half of this year, but no mention has been made of the other games and developers not nearly at the same stage to release their work. Lets hope that they get some good news.

Sadly, until January 22nd/23rd and the confirmation of how the company is being segmented it seems their fate is in the hand of Clearlake Capital, but with big hitters such as EA, Warner Bros and Ubisoft all expressing an interest in portions of the THQ portfolio it may not all be thorns for the games and developers.

Now, we just have to wait and see what unfolds in the weeks ahead.

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