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THQ dissolved, assets split apart

3:44 PM, Jan 24, 2013   |    comments
Video game developer/publisher THQ.
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It's officially game over for publisher THQ.

The video game publisher has confirmed a judge's decision to sell off its assets to several competing companies for $72 million.

"While we had hoped that the restructuring process would allow the company to remain intact, I am heartened that the majority of our studios and games will continue under new ownership," says THQ Chairman and CEO Brian Farrell in a statement. "It has been my pleasure to work alongside this great group of people, and I am proud of the imaginative and artistic games that our team has created."

Most notable is the acquisition of action series Saints Row and creators Volition Inc. for $22.3 million by Koch Media, the company that owns Dead Island publisher Deep Silver.  The company also snagged the rights to the soon-to-be released first-person shooter Metro: Last Light for $5.9 million.

"Both the Saints Row and the Metro franchises perfectly fit into our future lineup and strategy," says Menno van der Bil, international commercial director at Deep Silver, in a statement.  "We're really excited to lead these well-respected licenses into a bright new future."

French-based publisher Ubisoft confirmed in a press released it acquired THQ's Montreal studio, home to former Assassin's Creed creative director Patrice Desilets, as well as the rights to the role-playing game South Park: The Stick of Truth for a combined $5.8 million.

Meanwhile, SEGA scooped up studio Relic Entertainment, makers of the Company of Heroes strategy series, while Crysis studio Crytek acquired the rights to the upcoming military shooter Homefront 2.

The fates of Vigil Studios, developer of Darksiders, and THQ's line of WWE video games remains unclear.  There are several reports the WWE license could be acquired by Take-Two Interactive's 2K label.

The split shuts the door on what was once one of the industry's top publishers.  Turmoil at THQ began to surface last February, when the publisher announced the layoffs of 240 employees and cut their CEO's salary in half.  Later that summer, THQ relinquished its rights to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) license to Electronic Arts.

THQ filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December, claiming all its assets would be purchased by Clearlake Capital Group L.P. in a $60 million deal.

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

However, because the combined total of bid for its assets outweighed Clearlake's bid for the entire company, THQ's assets were broken up.

"I was brought in eight months ago to help turn this ship around, and while I'm disappointed that we could not effect a sale for the entire operating business, I am pleased that the new buyers will be providing jobs to many of our very talented personnel," says THQ President Jason Rubin in a statement.  "When we first announced the sale process, I said I would be happy if the company's games and people had a bright future, even if it meant I did not have a job at the end of it. And I still feel that way."

- Brett Molina, USA TODAY

USA TODAY

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