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THQ files for bankruptcy protection, assets sold to investment firm

Clearlake Capital Group purchases publisher for $60m

THQ is planning to sell all its games and assets to a private investment firm for $60 million, and in the process has filed for bankruptcy to smooth the deal over.

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As part of the agreement with Clearlake Capital Group, THQ will sell its "four owned studios and games in development". The company says it will continue operating without interruption during the sale.

"All of the company's studios remain open, and all development teams continue," reads the official statement. "The company remains confident in its existing pipeline of games. THQ maintains relationships with some of the top independent development studios around the globe. As part of the sale, the company is seeking approval to assume the contracts of these studios, and Clearlake will assume these contracts."

"The sale and filing are necessary next steps to complete THQ's transformation and position the company for the future, as we remain confident in our existing pipeline of games, the strength of our studios and THQ's deep bench of talent," said THQ CEO Brian Farrell.

"We are grateful to our outstanding team of employees, partners and suppliers who have worked with us through this transition. We are pleased to have attracted a strong financial partner for our business, and we hope to complete the sale swiftly to make the process as seamless as possible."

THQ president Jason Rubin added: "We have incredible, creative talent here at THQ. We look forward to partnering with experienced investors for a new start as we will continue to use our intellectual property assets to develop high-quality core games, create new franchise titles, and drive demand through both traditional and digital channels."

THQ has said it "does not intend to reduce its workforce as a result of the filing, and employees will continue to work their usual schedules and receive normal compensation and benefits, pending customary Court approval."

The stalking horse bid guarantees THQ's assets will sell for a minimum of $60 million to Clearlake, however it will seek out another buyer offering more. The figure is believed to be around five times its closing price yesterday. However, in 2007 it was valued at $2 billion.

Last month THQ was given an eight week grace period by its bank lender Wells Fargo, having previously defaulted on repayment plans from a $50 million loan.

In April, Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Grand Theft Auto and BioShock publisher Take-Two, has effectively said it's game over for THQ and predicted 'THQ won't be around in 6 months'.

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