THQ is gone but publishers buy key brands

THQ is gone, but publishers rush in to buy key brands | Technology | THQ, the veteran publisher of games like Saints Row and Homefront, as well as a range of WWE wrestling titles, has been struggling with debt for many months. Now it has been forced to auction off its key franchises. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December and had hoped for a quick buy-out courtesy of the private equity firm, Clearlake Capital Group. However, investors objected to the deal, and a US courtfound in their favour, arguing that the company had not been aggressive enough in seeking other potential purchasers. The alternative: an auction, held on January 22, to sell off the publisher's studios and assets one by one. This was effectively to be the end of a company that has been in the games business for 20 years. And while the results of the auction are yet to be formally approved by the court, most of THQ's major brands are now effectively with new owners. Here's who got what: Relic Entertainment: the studio behind titles such as Company of Heroes and Warhammer 40k has been bought by Sega for $26.6m. It's a good fit for the publisher, bringing over the forthcoming real-time strategy sequel Company of Heroes 2 which slots in comfortably beside the Total War series. THQ Montreal: The studio had been working on two new properties: 1666 and Underdog. These have now gone to Ubisoft for $2.5m. Ironically, 1666 is the codename for a project directed by Assassin's Creed creator, Patrice Desilets, who left Ubisoft for THQ in 2010. In the wake of the move, Ubisoft attempted to take out an injunction prohibiting THQ and Desilets from employing further staff from the Ubisoft Montreal studio. It's unclear yet, whether Desilets will return to the fold.

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