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THQ files for bankruptcy as it hands itself over to a new owner
THQ files for bankruptcy as it hands itself over to a new owner
December 19, 2012 | By Frank Cifaldi

December 19, 2012 | By Frank Cifaldi
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    32 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



Troubled game publisher THQ is handing itself over to a new owner.

Clearlake Capital Group is fronting $60 million to acquire THQ's business, including its four development studios (Vigil, Relic, Volition and THQ Montreal) and all of its games currently in development. In order to facilitate the sale, THQ filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday.

THQ says that operations will resume as normal during the transition, should the bankruptcy court approve.

"The sale and filing are necessary next steps to complete THQs transformation and position the company for the future, as we remain confident in our existing pipeline of games, the strength of our studios and THQs deep bench of talent," CEO Brian Farrell said in a statement.

According to THQ, in addition to its internal studios, Clearlake plans on inheriting all of its existing contracts with outside developers.

[Update: THQ has posted a reponse to the bankruptcy news, stating that the Clearlake deal isn't yet fully nailed down, as THQ is waiting to see if any other offers come in first.

"Our Chapter 11 process allows for other bidders to make competing offers for THQ," says Jason Rubin, President of THQ. "So while we are extremely excited about the Clearlake opportunity, we wont be able to say that the deal is done for a month or so."]


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Comments


Merc Hoffner
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Dayum.

Hate to say it, but how long for Take Two? 3 years? 4?

A W
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If take to is going under, I assume some hardware console company would be eager to buy them out before it happen.

k s
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@AW MS is the only one with the money and interest.

Gregory Duplat
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they have really cool games in the pipeline, COH2 for example. Might help them a bit. And Volition creates really cool games imo. Hope it works out.

Ben Serviss
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Relic isn't included in the sale? Did some other company scoop them up, or maybe they pulled a Bungie?

Frank Cifaldi
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Relic is Canadian, this only affects THQ's U.S. operations.

Frank Cifaldi
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CORRECTION! Relic is indeed included with the sale. The confusion was because Relic is not filing for bankruptcy. Updating the article now.

Ben Serviss
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Whew! Thanks Frank!

A W
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So is this the result of the old core market shrinking? Because I thought gaming was expanding which in theory would create new core markets.

Ardney Carter
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I thought the common wisdom was that THQ's woes were due to incredibly inept upper management for several years?

A W
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Yes but where they inept because the numbers of the core market started the change for the worst? One of the dumbest moves they made was porting over U draw to Xbox360 and PS3 after having no competition with it on Wii. Then they went and made a FPS that was half as good and twice as short as CoD. I don't know all of the details, but the core market they stated to court was no longer looking at their products after that.

Aaron Hain
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Absolutely no surprises here. I had a feeling that the success or failure of darksiders II would make or break THQ. Although it wasn't an outright failure, it showed that even their strongest IP didn't come close to resonating with a mass market. Their huge sales on the xbox marketplace was another indicator that they were quite desperate to squeeze any sales they could out of titles that the public had already proven it didn't want.

Maybe It's a little sad because it seems like they put up such a fight to keep their heads above water. I guess Jerry Seinfeld said it best: "He's like a spider in a toilet, you know he's not going to make it, but you kind of root for him for a second."

brandon sheffield
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Their strongest IP is likely Saint's Row, and that actually did quite well.

Dave Smith
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are they going to sell THQ for scrap or try to keep everything going?

A W
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Well... whats the most profitable model for this kind of thing?

Dimitri Del Castillo
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Relic, Vigil, Volition. I hope they keep going strong, especially Vigil. I was looking forward to the 40k MMO.

Maria Jayne
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Me too, although with all of THQs troubles and the fact the MMO will now be just a single/multiplayer game using DMO assets makes me so worried they'll ship any old crap to milk the name I'm not sure I want to see it at all. You just know with a change of scope during development, loss of staff and shoe string budget its not going to get the attention it deserves.

Vigil, Relic and Volition are the gems in THQ as far as I'm concerned, but no mention of Dawn of War 3 for 2013 or possibly even later makes me a sad panda.

Eric Geer
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I think the 40K MMO got scrapped--Dark Millennium--turned it into an open world --single and traditional multi-player game.

John Woznack
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THQI: Opened today at $1.40. Closed today at $0.36. That's down 73.88% just today (12/19/12).

Ouch.

David Rodriguez
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Even though THQ isn't completely "gone", Take-Two's CEO predicted something would happen around this time:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/168115/THQs_days_are_numbered_
says_TakeTwo_CEO.php#.UNI6Wm9QV8E

I'm still optimistic for THQ, they still have a strong following rooting for they're IP. I just hope this is a turning point (AKA learning from your mistakes).

Thom Q
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Wow, what? Those movie & tv licensed games didn't make enough anymore? ;)

brandon sheffield
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they stopped making those about 3 or 4 years ago...

brandon sheffield
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(except the new south park game, I guess!)

Thom Q
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:P

They came into the world with the masterpiece Home Alone. Frustratingly bad game I've spent way too many hours on as a kid

Christian Nutt
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I will also eternally associate THQ with the Home Alone game for SNES.

Thom Q
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@ brandon : Besides that new south park games, they also made sponge bob games in the last 3/4 years. So essentially, they never stopped :)

@ Christian

I had a lot of fun with Darksiders, but yeah if you look at their catalogue, its 70% tv/movie licensed games, 25% normal bad games..

k s
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I'm just worried about Staints Row next, South Park: the Stick of Truth and of course all those innocent developers who will lose their jobs.

Lyon Medina
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I honestly hope THQ can remain open, they honestly look like they have some good things in development (Honestly, South Park the Stick of Truth" looks just amazing) and I have always preferred the funny Saints Row series over the overly dramatic GTA series. I have high hopes that they can continue making great games, them, and all their studious.

Beyond Good and Evil
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I just marvel at the persistence of people's belief that things are going to be "okay", somehow, with THQ. People have been talking openly and at length, in these very forums (many ex THQ employees) about how totally and completely broken THQ is for YEARS - and yet I still see people talking about how they're going to "turn things around". I have news for you - they aren't going to turn anything around. Ever. What more is needed for it to sink in - for the entire corporate head office to explode in a giant fireball? Wake up.

Daniel Campbell
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This makes me very sad. Hopefully it wont result in anyone losing their jobs...other than the people that deserve it...

Beyond Good and Evil
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Oh I guarantee that the executives, who are the architects of this mess, will all get to stay. Look at the forecasts they are putting out to the public - http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-12-20-rubin-thq-sale-a
-new-start-for-our-company?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email
&utm_campaign=us-daily - you'd have to be literally insane or stupid to think that any of those titles will do even 50% of those unit sales targets. I guess black really is white after all.

Jason Patterson
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I can't help but question the wisdom of a Southpark game. Yes, the series has been around but it seems long past it's mainstream buzz point where it had mass recognition. Now most remarks I hear about it is that people lost interest in it that used to be fans. I don't see this going well.


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