THQ locks up WWE for 8 more years

Feuding companies resolve differences over wrestling game license, publisher paying out more than $33 million in next four years as part of court case settlement.

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Like any great tag team of the squared circle, the alliance between THQ and World Wrestling Entertainment has been a tumultuous one. The pair has been tied up in multiple court battles (along with former WWE toy licensee Jakks Pacific) since 2004, with the wrestling organization trying to have its game deal annulled due to unauthorized sublicensing and alleged racketeering.

Bitter enemies turned BFFs.

The two companies appear to have put their troubled past behind them, as THQ today announced an exclusive new eight-year deal to make and sell games based on the WWE license worldwide. The new THQ-WWE deal goes into effect January 1, 2010.

Additionally, THQ settled its legal disputes with both WWE and Jakks. The three companies came to a mutual agreement that will see no party admit any wrongdoing. However, THQ said it would be paying WWE $13.2 million under the settlement, while Jakks will receive $20 million from the publisher, split up over the next four years. Finally, THQ/Jakks Pacific, the joint venture under which the two companies originally produced WWE-licensed games, will be terminated at the end of the year.

The agreement should put THQ investors at ease, as recent years have seen the WWE-branded games account for roughly 25 percent of the company's total revenues. From the time THQ acquired the license in 1999 through September, the publisher has reported more than $1.4 billion in revenues from WWE games sold at US retailers alone.

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