The auction is finished and THQ have been sold! Majority of owned publisher development teams and brands were sold for a total amount of 100 million dollars. Auction is not approved by the court yet, but this is just a formality.
The most valuable piece of the pie turned out to be Relic Entertainment studio, together with all rights to the Company of Heroes 2. This kit was acquired by Sega for 26.6 million dollars, which overbid competitive offer from ZeniMax Media company. Fans of the band should be pleased with this result listings. Sega is known from very good care of the PC developers, the Sports Interactive (Football Manager series) and The Creative Assembly (Total War series). The company constantly invests into development of both studios, while the console teams are affected by cuts. At its wings Relic is in the most comfortable position since many years.
It is worth mentioning that the auction was’t placed for Warhammer 40000 license brand. Games Workshop is famous because of their extremely strict contracts and there has been speculation that after THQ bankruptcy all rights will go back to Games Workshop. If so, it should be expected that the license itself will be bought by Sega soon. Especially since the two companies recently signed a contract that will result in the creation of computer adaptation of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Two branches of the same brand would be under one roof so.
The second most valuable THQ asset turned out to be the Volition studio, together with all rights to the Saints Row series. It was sold for 22.3 million to Koch Media company, which seems to release games under the Deep Silver name. The result of the auction was a big surprise. Saints Row is by far the best-selling series of THQ, also Relic was purchased for a significantly higher amount. However, this valuation makes sense. Company of Heroes 2 is in the final stage of the production, while the new owner of Volation Studio will have to invest a large amount of money before the next Saints Row will go on sale. Another surprise was victiory of Koch Media, which overbid much larger companies, including Ubisoft.
However Ubisoft envoys did’t end up with nothing. They won the auction for THQ’s internal development studio located in Montreal. They paid only $ 2.5 million for the whole crew, along with the rights contained in the production, although still undisclosed games and Underdog 1666. This is a great investment for a publisher, especially since the biggest studio is located in the same city.
Crytek Studio paid a paltry 500k Dollars for all the rights to the Homefront series. That makes sense, because they were involved in the production of the second part.
In addition, Koch Media has acquired the publishing rights to the Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light for 5.8 million dollars and the Ubisoft spent $ 3.2 million for the purchase of South Park: The Stick Of Truth from the Obsidian Entertainment. Brand owning company South Park Digital Studios filed a court motion to suspend the transfer of rights until it reaches an agreement with Ubisoft and obtain appropriate warranties for outstanding commitments.
The biggest loser turned out to be owned by THQ Vigil Studio, the authors of a Darksiders series. Unfortunately, none of the companies participating in the auction have shown interest in purchasing the team. Rights to the series may still be sold at a later date (some interest in them was shown by Japanese studio Platinum Games), but the entire crew was released. The NeoGAF forum studio boss – Ben Cureton published an open letter in which he thanked his team-mates for all the years of working together.
Below is the letter from THQ CEO and the President to all employees.
“To All THQ Employees:
We now have the answers we’ve been seeking through our financial restructuring and
Chapter 11 case. While much will be written, here are the facts of the bids and auction
that occurred t:
Yesterday morning, we received a competing bid for the operating business,
along with Clearlake’s offer, and numerous offers for separate assets.
During an auction process that lasted over 22 hours, the final conclusion was
that the separate-asset bids would net more than a single buyer for the majority
of the company.
Shortly, we will, present the results to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which must
concur with our assessment.
The proposed sales of multiple assets is as follows :
Sega agreed to purchase Relic
Koch Media agreed to purchase Volition and Metro
Crytek agreed to purchase Homefront
Take 2 agreed purchase Evolve and
Ubisoft agreed to purchase Montreal and South Park
We expect these sales to close this week.
Some assets, including our publishing businesses and Vigil, along with some other
intellectual properties are not included in the sale agreements. They will remain part of
the Chapter 11 case. We will make every effort to find appropriate buyers, if possible.
What this means for employees
We expect that most employees of the entities included in the sale will be offered
employment by the new owners. However, we cannot say what these owners may
intend, and there will likely be some positions that will not be needed under the
new ownership. You should receive notice this week or early next week if the new
owners intend to extend employment to you. Please note that the terms of your new
employment, including pay and benefits, may be different from the current terms of
your employment with THQ.
If you are an employee of an entity that is not included in the sale, we regret that
your position will end. A small number of our headquarters staff will continue to be
employed by THQ beyond January 25 to assist with the transition. THQ has sufficient
resources to pay these employees for work going forward, and we will be contacting
these employees immediately to ensure their continued employment during this
transition period. We are requesting the ability to offer certain severance pay to
minimize disruption for employees of non-included entities as they determine the next
steps in their careers.
We know you will have many questions about this news. We’ll be meeting tomorrow
when we return to talk through this announcement and to answer any questions you
have. You will receive a benefits fact sheet and FAQs with answers to some questions
that may be on your mind. Please review these materials closely.
A personal note
The work that you all have done as part of the THQ family is imaginative, creative,
artistic and highly valued by our loyal gamers. We are proud of what we have
accomplished despite today’s outcome.
It has been our privilege to work alongside the entire THQ team. While the company
will cease to exist, we are heartened that the majority of our studios and games will
continue under new ownership. We were hoping that the entire company would remain
intact, but we expect to hear good news from each of the separate entities that will be
operating as part of new organizations.
For those THQ employees who are part of entities that are not included in the sale, we
are confident that the talent you have displayed as part of THQ will be recognized as you
take the next steps in your career.
Thank you all for your dedication and for sharing your talent with the THQ team. We
wish you the best of luck and hope you will keep in touch.
Chief Executive Officer