THQ CEO Brian Farrell and President Jason Rubin sent out a letter earlier today to all employees of THQ-owned studios. In the letter, Farrell announces that THQ will cease to exist and that most of the owned studios and IPs have been sold to third parties. The full letter, as well as an overview of which assets have been sold to which parties, is included after the jump.
Despite an earlier objection to the sale by South Park Digital Studios, the publishing rights for the upcoming title South Park: The Stick of Truth have been acquired by Ubisoft. In addition, Ubisoft has taken over the THQ Montreal studio, it’s 1666 title and the mysterious “Project Underdog.” According to Ubisoft, it is “too soon to tell” whether the acquisition brings with it Patrice Désilets, who at one pointleft his role as the creative director behind Assassin’s Creed at Ubisoft in 2010 to set up the new THQ studio. According to a report by VG247, Ubisoft paid $3.2 million for the rights to the South Park title and $2.5 million for the studio.
Sega has acquired Company of Heroes-developer Relic Entertainment, for a reported price of $26 million, while Dead Island-publisher Koch Media has acquired Saints Row-makers Volition Inc. ($22.3 million) and the publishing rights to the Metro franchise. The latter were sold for $5.8 million.
Crytek, which is already working on Homefront 2, has obtained the rights to the Homefront IP for half a million USD, and Take-Two acquired the rights to an unannounced installment in the Evolve franchise for $11 million. Developer Turtle Rock, which is currently working on the Evolve title, has submitted a backup bid of $250,000, which means the studio will be able to purchase the rights in case Take-Two is unable to finalize the deal.
No bids were submitted for Darksiders-developer Vigil Games and its current project, which means that this studio will be sold alongside the other remaining assets to another party at a later stage.
THQ will continue to maintain a staff of around 25 people, who will oversee the transitions. Some layoffs at the acquired studios appear to be likely, as some positions may have become redundant under the new ownership, none of the buyers have currently made any statements on that matter.
The letter sent to the THQ employees is included below:
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