MCV reports that Ubisoft is one of the "front-runners" in the bid to buy rival THQ. The Far Cry publisher is interested in taking over the latter company's brands and studios once THQ irons out its current financial woes. Both parties are reportedly in lengthy discussions about a possible acquisition.
On Wednesday a staggering THQ said that it had entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with a “stalking horse bidder,” affiliates of Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., to acquire substantially all of the assets of THQ’s operating business. This acquisition includes THQ’s four owned studios and games currently in development.
"The sale will allow THQ to shed certain legacy obligations and emerge with the strong financial backing of a new owner with substantial experience in software and technology," THQ said.
To facilitate the sale, THQ and its domestic business units filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware – the company’s foreign operations, including Canada, are not included. The company has obtained commitments from Wells Fargo and Clearlake for debtor-in possession (DIP) financing of approximately $37.5 million, subject to Court approval, THQ said.
THQ added that during the sale period, it will conduct business as usual, meaning that all the studios will remain open, and development of games will push on uninterrupted. However as part of the sale, THQ is seeking approval to assume the contracts of these studios, and Clearlake will assume these contracts.
Meanwhile, Ubisoft is reportedly looking for a "bargain buy" and is willing to hold out on a purchase until THQ and its new owner get desperate enough to sell off specific assets. This is similar to what happened to the now-shuttered Midway Games when it went into bankruptcy back in February 2009.
If Ubisoft proves successful in acquiring THQ as a whole, it will gain highly successful IPs including Saints Row, Darksiders, Warhammer 40,000 licensing, Company of Heroes, Red Faction and more. That's just on the PC gaming front – THQ has a larger console library spanning licenses with the WWE, UFC, Nickelodeon, and loads more.