Posted on November 13, 2012, Ross Lincoln Ubisoft Expresses Interest In THQ IP
Last week, in the wake of THQ’s absolutely dismal investor call in which they have all but admitted they are unable to fund their current planned slate of games, I commented that “it shouldn’t come as a shock if we start hearing rumors of interest from larger publishers seeking to buy THQ outright.” Would this be humiliating? Yes, especially after new CEO Jason Rubin has made so many drastic changes designed to save the company. But given that over the weekend it was revealed that THQ is in default on a 50 million dollar line of revolving credit, an almost certainly insurmountable challenge, they may have no choice but to accept a dignified death via acquisition.
Well folks, it didn’t take long for the wolves to start sniffing around the edge of the village. In an interview with GI, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot acknowledged the company is possibly interested in buying up THQ IP. “They have good things,” he told GI. “We are always interested in good brands. For sure, it’s something we can consider, but I can’t tell you more.” That’s remarkably cagey, and should probably be taken as a definite sign their interest is more than hypothetical. He would have otherwise ruled it out. Of course, note that he wasn’t talking about buying THQ outright, only unspecified THQ franchises. Which means, most likely, that the publisher’s debt burden is too high to consider purchasing.
But does this mean we’re going to see the slow motion dismantling of the company rather than its purchase outright? Maybe not.”What happened to [THQ] is something that happens regularly when we have transition,” he continued. “Some can make it, some decide to go in different direction. It happened with Atari and Midway and also Acclaim last generation. … It’s something that happens in this industry and that’s the way the industry consolidates.” Ooof.
Frankly, at this point my only concern is that the Saints Row series be allowed to remain alive, but I can’t imagine Ubisoft is interested. Maybe it’s too much to hope that Take-Two might want to own their own competition? Yeah, probably. In the meantime, expect more news like this. Poor THQ.