Monday, January 7, 2013
Welp, Nevermind THQ's Done
Remember when THQ filed for Bankruptcy and the President of THQ came forward and said in an open statement to everyone that 'THQ is fine and isn't going anywhere'? Yeah, well....that is probably not the case anymore. Some recent developments with that whole situation over the last weekend were made and they are not pleasant ones for any involved. The plan was pretty much simple, as it was presented. Jason Rubin said, basically "We had to go into Bankruptcy and look for an investor so that we could quickly repay the folks we owe as soon as possible" which sounds sensible as all hell and should immediately tell you that it's certainly not going to happen that way. Because why would it? I mean, why would things just work in ways that are considerate for everyone involved?
Over the weekend, some groups had raised some complaints to THQ's proposed plan to seek investment through Clearlake Capital Group, well a purchase from them I should say, and there was a hearing about it. Ultimately a Judge decided that the sale wasn't cool to go through when it was scheduled to because, and this is literally the goddamn reason, 'it doesn't make the most money possible'. With Warner Bros., EA and other publishers sniffing around, there's a very big, very real possibility that piecemeal sale of THQ's assets will ultimately bring in more money than the Clearlake deal would net, making it the more lucrative option for THQ's creditors. Because, of course, in this economy when everyone is only too happy to chirp up about how nobody wants to protect jobs or this or that, whine about how outsourcing is too big, an actual plan to prevent the loss of jobs shows up and is instantly swatted away. It's a fickle thing, clearly.
I guess I shouldn't be too annoyed just yet since there's absolutely nothing stating that the IPs are the -only- things that will go on sale, unless I missed it. If you all remember when Midway went under, Warner Bros. stepped in and bought the MK IP, but they also got the development team which we now know as Netherrealm Studios and they're doing pretty spiffy, I should say. So -technically- we could assume that any potential publisher that purchases up the rights to the individual series that will go on sale might also bring the talent over as well, one way or another. The Netherrealm Studios example isn't the only one of course, as even when Squeenix bought up True Crime: Hong Kong (later the amazing Sleeping Dogs), they helped United Front Games continue work on it so that they could finish it regardless. They didn't acquire UFG, but I would assume if a Sleeping Dogs 2 was ever in the works (please let there be a Sleeping Dogs 2 in the works), Squeenix would tap them for a return as well. If nothing else, perhaps we could assume that sort of situation for whomever picks up these IPs.
Because the IPs are definitely on sale - I mean, it's pretty much a done deal, I would assume. The end-goal is, I believe, finding out which option will pay more between the Clearlake deal and interested parties purchasing franchises individually. Whichever one has the biggest bottom line will be the plan that goes forward so that THQ can just funnel that money directly to the people their creditors. So while it's still technically possible that the Clearlake deal -will- go through, it's highly unlikely as every franchise individually will probably be quite a bit more than a package deal. As is the case, generally with package deals, which, I suggest is why they are called deals. At this point it's pretty much just a matter of thinking about who will buy up what and doing a whole lot of hoping and finger crossing. As much as I don't hop onto the EA Hate Train whenever it rolls around, I'm not at all enthused with entertaining the thought of an EA published Saint's Row 4, for instance. Picking up the WWE license, however, is a lot more believable and palatable because EA already has like every other sport and they do alright. I'd just like to think Warner Bros. will do up a thing like they did with Netherrealm Studios.
The ink isn't dry on the deals and there's still a lot of room for the situation to resume changing dramatically, but it's more or less a lot more real now than it was. I'm pretty bummed, since I really believed Jason Rubin, but at the same time, there wasn't a whole lot to doubt based on what he presented. He was saying if they didn't do the sale by a certain date, it would cause a lot of problems and that's basically the lynchpin here in that the Judge and others don't agree with that date. As such, it's basically still up in the air, but I'm pretty sure it's looking like the chips are going to fall on this latter side now, rather than the shiny, bright side that was presented first. It's a real shame in a sense, but we won't really know the extent of the damages until the actual dust settles. Whatever happens, it's going to have a rather big impact all around, though, and that's probably going to be a hard show to watch.
Update!: Well, things are pretty much like it seemed, since it was confirmed that this is a most money wins situation. The amount of money Clearlake has put up is apparently $60 Million, so that is the number to beat. If anyone bids -more- than $60 Million for the whole of THQ, they'll acquire everything as Clearlake would, -or- if the sum of the bids for individual franchises from the likes of Warner Bros., EA and such exceeds $60 Million, then that's how that'll play out. $60 Million is a -lot- of money, so this might be a closer race than anyone could have figured on. But it just relies on the bids because not only are the companies against one another, but up against this potential $60 Million figure or even more if someone puts in for a whole bid of more than that. We'll find out around January 23rd just what's going to happen to THQ, so start hoping for whatever outcome you want now.