Los Angeles Business Journal

THQ’s Auction Ends in Division of Assets

By Natalie Jarvey Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bidding for the assets of bankrupt video game publisher THQ ended Wednesday and resulted in a piecemeal sale of the company’s main titles and studios.

The auction, which began Tuesday afternoon and lasted until midday Wednesday, was structured so that the assets would only be sold individually if the total of those sales was more than a bid for the entire company.

The asset that sold for the highest price was Relic, a Canadian studio that developed World War II shooter franchise “Company of Heroes.” Sega Corp. acquired the studio for $26.6 million.

THQ’s Montreal division sold to Ubisoft LLC for $2.5 million. The division is currently developing two new games.

Ubisoft also purchased “South Park: The Stick of Truth,” a game based on the Comedy Central animated series, for $3.27 million.

South Park Digital Studios filed a complaint with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court earlier in the week claiming that it must give approval of any sale of the game, but THQ responded that it would likely move forward with a sale without South Park’s approval.

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. purchased Evolve, an action game in development from Turtle Rock Studios in Lake Forest, for $10.9 million. Turtle Rock, which was the backup bidder for the game with a price of $250,000, was outbid for its own game.

Volition, a studio in Champaign, Ill., that develops the “Saints Row” franchise, sold to Germany’s Koch Media for $22.3 million. Koch also purchased first-person shooter games “Metro 2033” and “Metro 2034” for $5.88 million.

The “Homefront” games, meanwhile, went to German game company Crytek for $544,000.

Vigil Studios in Austin, Texas, did not receive a bid during the auction.

Following the auction, THQ Chief Executive Brian Farrell and President Jason Rubin sent a letter to staff explaining what the sale would mean for them.

Video game blog Kotaku published the letter, which said that some employees could be offered positions with their new owners. But any assets that were not sold, such as Vigil, would let go all employees.

THQ, headquartered in Agoura Hills, plans to keep some employees on staff to help with the transition. It will also continue with its Chapter 11 proceedings and try to find bidders for its remaining assets, including Vigil and its publishing business.

Farrell and Rubin ended the letter by thanking the employees for their work and wishing them luck.

“We are proud of what we have accomplished despite today’s outcome,” they wrote. “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.”