When the original news broke that THQ had found a potential buyer in Clearlake that might allow the company to remain solvent and whole, it seemed as if the stars had aligned. Add in a tremendous reception to the Humble THQ Bundle and a great response to the $25 THQ franchise pack and it was almost worth forgetting about the bankruptcy filing in general. It wasn't meant to be, however, which we should have expected with lawyers and judges involved.
The original Clearlake sale was originally planned to be wrapped up and sold on January 10. That plan was denied last week and a lawyer huddle over the weekend a new auction date of January 15 was decided upon. The judge, however, disagreed with even that and pushed the date back another week to January 22. All potential bids must be submitted by 9AM January 22 with the sales hearing following on January 23 at 9AM.
Another extra detail was agreed upon during the lawyer huddle over the weekend, allowing for interested parties to bid on individual assets (titles, studios) as opposed to the "whole deal" parties were bidding on before. The Distressed Debt Investing blog reported earlier this morning that EA visited several sites they might be interested in purchasing (as in, studio locations). Keep in mind EA purchased the rights to publish UFC titles from THQ earlier this year.
As with each of these articles I like to mention how recent events might affect THQ's different games. Obviously, the delay in sale is not going to have positive results. The question as to whether THQ will have the funds to its employees for the extent of the delay has been brought up, which would obviously have a profound result on development. Should EA, Warner Bros, or another unknown party purchase any of the studios or franchises, again, it's difficult to say what the direct result would be but we could assume it would mean delay.
One positive note mentioned by DDI is that the interest driving EA, WB and Clearlake to invest in THQ is that there are so many games near completion. In other words, the majority of the cost to create these games has been spent. All that's remaining is profit. That means these companies are likely interested in purchasing portions of THQ for the sole purpose of publishing these games as soon as they can. What happens after the games are released in another matter entirely.
Look forward to more details in coming weeks. Hopefully we'll hear news on interested bidders or the possibility of THQ being broken in to pieces. Otherwise, tune in January 23 for the end of this grand journey that is THQ's bankruptcy.