Warner Bros. among interested THQ bidders

Media giant one of five strategic buyers looking into purchasing bankrupt publisher; new hearing set for Monday.

Warner Bros. is one of five strategic buyers investigating a potential purchase of bankrupt publisher THQ, according to a report from Distressed Debt Investing.

Reporting from inside a United States Bankruptcy Court hearing yesterday, DDI wrote in a series of tweets that THQ banker Sam Greene (of Centerview) testified five buyers are in "active due diligence" to pursue a purchase of THQ. The other parties were not named.

Greene also reportedly stated that those potential buyers are interested in purchasing individual THQ properties, not the company's entire portfolio. This has been a sticking point in the sale process, as THQ is reportedly not interested in selling off individual properties.

Earlier this week, United States Trustee Roberta DeAngelis along with THQ creditors objected to the short timetable for the sale, saying the window of 30 days would put a cap on the number of potential bids. The creditors also took issue with THQ's intent to sell its franchises as a total package, instead of on a game-by-game basis.

An unnamed bondholder reportedly said during the hearing that THQ "didn't give enough information for [strategic buyers] to value individual titles." Warner Bros.' legal representation said the company has a team in place "ready to complete due diligence if more time is allowed."

Judge Mary Walrath did not approve the bidding procedures, according to DDI, and instructed all parties to "work out their issues" over the weekend. A new hearing is set for Monday, January 7.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

Discussion

89 comments
pcgamer194
pcgamer194

Warner Bros. should not be allowed the rights to both DC comics movies and WH40K games. Too much power. They must be assimilated.

Wensea10
Wensea10

Sure THQ is done with but it still had strong ponts like Darksiders II.

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

If Warner Bros or UbiSoft buys out THQ, then I'll stop buying "THQ" games too.

Warner will force in Games for Windows Live into all new releases and Ubi will force in their uPlay launcher and I have no interest in either of them - These companies are already on my "do not buy from" list.

 

They're just a publisher, them disappearing shouldn't much affect the development studios behind, they can distribute their games through different publishers instead then.

As long as games are free from DRM, don't require a 3rd party launcher or account registration and are playable offline I don't care too much where I buy them from or who's publishing them.

 

I'd even buy directly from these developers (Volition, Relic Entertainment, Gas Powered Games, 4A, ...), which would be even better because then there's no publishers inbetween and the people actually developing the game get more for their efforts without some 3rd parties taking their cut for wasting millions on marketing.

jose2390
jose2390

They should buy City Of Heroes from NCsoft! The COH community are one of the most loyal and dedicated! Please resurrect my City!!

thequickshooter
thequickshooter

warner bros are douchbags

 

valve should buy them instead!

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

It's very clear THQ is trying to make a sleazy sweetheart deal with Clearlake.  The THQ president has friends on the Clearlake board.  Golden parachute away!

MadGamer132
MadGamer132

they should put the whole thing on sale! not piece by piece but this story is getting good.

TotalWarHero
TotalWarHero

This is very disappointing news.  THQ is one of the few publishers that consistently contributed to the development of great titles and customer service.  Can't help but wonder if that is sadly why they are bankrupt.

mrzero1982pt2
mrzero1982pt2

it would be very interesting and hilarious if WB bought THQ... THQ published WCW games, which OWNED WCW til WWE bought them out. It makes you wonder how WWE would feel knowing their former competitor's owner is putting their name on their game now! 

odino
odino

THQ is down, the entire industry is failing anyway. There will only be annual releases by EA Sports, COD, AC, until people finally stop buying their annual update for $60.

toshineon
toshineon

If that's the case, I hope THQ doesn't end up like Monolith Productions. Remember F.E.A.R.? Yeah, it used to be a scary game...

Elann2008
Elann2008

Well yeah, this would be great.  WB published Rocksteady's Batman Arkham City.  And how about let Rocksteady helm some THQ titles and make them their own?  That would be badass.

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

Whoever ends up buying THQ, I hope it isn't a first party console company like Microsoft, Nintendo, or Sony. The last thing I want is for a whole bunch of series to end up as one-console-exclusives.

GreggD
GreggD

This...this makes a lot of sense, actually.

ncc74656
ncc74656

I hope they do buy them and say bye bye to the wwe games

Wastlander3000
Wastlander3000

I wonder what will happen to Metro last light? Will it have a Mickey mouse protagonist?  or will it be a serious game like Metro 2033.

 

SpookyJack
SpookyJack

If only GOG.com could purchase struggling publishers. I'll say even more: if only more publishers were struggling, then GOG.com could purchase all of them and bring balance to the force... I mean the industry.

BlackSquare
BlackSquare

People don't know math.

 

1) THQ made debt. They need to pay it.

2) On the other hand, the company has to be sold quickly otherwise it's value will drop.

3) The company is in debt. People will have to be fired to make it stable again. And it will be bought out. So there will be redundancy. People will be fired either way. Selling in with a stable and clean plan allows jobs to be saved. There needs to be a balance.

4) Half the people complaining probably pirated at least one game from THQ. So congrats. You added to this situation.

 

More on my third point, if it is not done correctly, you just get another GM. Truckload of money pumped into the company. Company goes bankrupt anyway and fires people. If this is not done correctly, THQ will just have to fire more people later on. Better right the first time.

BlackSquare
BlackSquare

DO THE MATH! THQ clearly doesn't know how to spend money. They made debt. If they repay the debt, that money will be used to fund better projects. Instead getting flushed down some hole by these THQ executives.

 

Makers versus takers. You all think welching on your debt is a good thing. THQ failed. Why should they be rewarded for failing? Get the good employees new jobs, and fire the executives for their failure. Do you people even know why there are golden parachutes? It's to stop hostile corporate takeovers.

 

So the executives that made the debt get a truckload and a half in payments. And then regular joe loses his job because no company is willing to go near THQ because of it's debt. If THQ welches on its debt, how many future companies will go near them? None. Good job getting funding for another game. If THQ doesn't pay up, in the long term the company will go belly up.

HKILLER88888
HKILLER88888

THQ hello?any news for Warhammer series?it's 2013 and you wanna say you got nothing planned for it?

Kr3isen
Kr3isen

Thank you corporate america for once again proving that it's the bottomline that counts.

THQ mamages to find a way to preserve itself as a full company and what do the investors do? Bitch that they didn't try breaking the company apart first for "profit" because we all know you get more bank for buck when you start a fire sale of your studios!

jark888
jark888

 @bloody-hell Nothing bad will happen if huge number of consumers boycott unfair business practices. Or the table will turn to buyers if we're united.

Syphon_Filter2
Syphon_Filter2

 @bloody-hell

 I agree with you on that 100% man. That UPLAY thing is so usless and stupid. I hate to play  some games because of that UPLAY things if Ubisoft created them.

PStrife
PStrife

 @TotalWarHero

 Online passes and more codes are not user friendly nor benificial to consumers.  Customer service exists for the whole product experience, not to pick and choose what you want to call good customer service.

gufberg
gufberg

 @odino "The entire industry is failing" Isn't that over dramatization? 

 

We've got alot of great non-Activision/EA devs out there. Alot. Sure some of them die off here and there but new studios spawn just as quickly. Blizzard North's closure spawned what? 4 development teams? one of them responsible for the - great- Torchlight series. 

 

As long as there is the least of profit to be had in good, new games small dev teams will make them.

Also some of the big publishers like 2K and Zenimax are actually really great because they allow their studios to do their own thing to a degree. Thats why we're soon seeing a new Bioshock game thats as outlandish and untraditional as the first one. 

mrzero1982pt2
mrzero1982pt2

 @ncc74656 dude, the WWE games are some of the best selling annualized sports games. if WB bought it, it would be their first time testing the waters on an annualized title. 

NightDrifter05
NightDrifter05

 @BlackSquare Pirates had nothing to do with the situation. If that's the case then why is THQ one of the few companies going this route? Do you want to know why THQ is a failed company? Go play their game's and see how crappy and poorly done they are on all platforms. They screwed themselves by putting all their time and effort into 2-3 games a year and just saying screw the other games they get what they get. If piracy really was a issue then gaming would be all but dead and so would the movie and music industry but much like gaming they are just fine.

sonicare
sonicare

 @BlackSquare GM?  The government came in and basically wrote off a lot of their debt.  The people that GM owed money to bascially were told they were getting little to nothing.  The only people that lost out were the banks and other creditors.  The employees did not.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

 @Kr3isen Why does THQ "deserve" to keep existing?  They are unprofitable and deeply in debt.  Pay the debts as best you can and dissolve the failure.  The developers will find other jobs.

odino
odino

 @Kr3isen Because they are owed money, if they sell it quick and cheap then the creditors (who are OWED money) will get less. If there are better buyers then they'll get more money back, and they are losing out on money one way or another so they'd prefer only to lose a little...

 

THQ is bankrupt, let them go down already. Their IPs will be picked up by other companies, new publishers will rise. The entire game industry is due for a phoenix rising out from the ashes anyway. Companies don't make money, games are all the same, gamers are bored...

BlackSquare
BlackSquare

 @gufberg  @odino Excellent point. THQ are in between market shares. They operate like EA and Activision but sell way less than they do. It's too big and needs to go big, go niche or break up.

ncc74656
ncc74656

@mrzero1982pt2 no there not they suck the UFC games are better the wwe are so fake and too cartoony

Wastlander3000
Wastlander3000

 @forlietu Could be, but the final line is this: I would like Metro Last Light to be a good and engaging game like Metro 2033 was.

BlackSquare
BlackSquare

 @NightDrifter05 I'm not saying piracy is a valid excuse. What I am saying are that the fanboys yelling at the creditors probably pirated and are not HELPING the situation. But yes, you made my point once more. The executives at THQ can't manage anything. Their business model is flawed and they shouldn't be rewarded for it.

 

A chunk of the debt is due to golden parachutes for executives AND the employees. People think the employees won't get packages. They get some of the largest packages (proportionally speaking of course). Company like this were loaded with "extras" to stop hostile takeovers. I'm sure there is more bad paper in THQ due to these business practices and just plain bad business model that NightDrifter05 alluded to.

BlackSquare
BlackSquare

 @sonicare GM didn't go through a proper bankruptcy. The process was done to protect the workers at the expense of the taxpayers and creditors. So what happened? GM plants are still closing because GM didn't kick out the expensive union packages it paid its employees. In the long run more employees are being fired and hurt, than if they just fired and cut back in the beginning.

 

THQ is saying the reason they want to do this is to save the jobs. It's complete bull. It's a cover for the THQ executive who mismanaged the company.

GreggD
GreggD

 @Gonefishing95  @BlackSquare Not only have I never pirated a THQ game, but I've put serious consideration to buying the SNES Home Alone games from my local game shop.

NightDrifter05
NightDrifter05

 @odino  @Kr3isen Speak for yourself. You must be blind to the millions and millions of gamers in the world who are more then happy with the current status. All in all gaming is still getting bigger and in peoples opinions better so you must be one of the minority that is bored and chooses to sit back and say "Man these games suck compared to what I grew with" and look at every modern day game with nostalgia glasses trying to compare it.

 

If gamer's were really bored then do you think we would sell multiple games every year selling MILLIONS of copies?

NightDrifter05
NightDrifter05

 @Wastlander3000  @forlietu Well the fact the THQ is being sold has NOTHING to do with Metro Last Light. THQ was nothing more then a publisher which is exactly what the new buyer will be. Metro 2033 and Last Light are being being developed by the same people over at 4A games with the same writers and directors working with the development team.