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THQ game studios up for sale to highest bidder

Vigil, Relic, Volition and THQ Montreal up for grabs

THQ's fleet of games studios are each up for sale to the highest bidder, as part of a piece-by-piece sale of the entire company, officials connected to the matter have told CVG.

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Game development divisions such as Illinois based Volition, Texas outfit Vigil Games, Vancouver group Relic Entertainment and THQ Montreal are each up for sale to outside companies. Publishers will need to place bids before January 22 in order to enter an auction process where they can compete against other interested parties.

Development studios tend not to be sold to other companies during a fire-sale of assets or administration process. Typically, companies will wait until a group is closed and then hire a number of select staff.

However, the complex nature of the THQ sale means that its studios and their identities, some of which are highly regarded in the games business, could theoretically be bought for a small fee.

THQ, which has battled significant money troubles for more than 18 months, was told on Monday that bidding for its assets was open to all. The publisher initially hoped that it could sell all its assets to Clearlake Capital Group for $60 million, yet the US Bankruptcy Court declared it was not satisfied with the potential quick sale.

Now any company can bid on any asset, from studios to game brands such as Homefront, Darksiders, Saints Row and Company of Heroes. All interested parties must place their bids before January 22. At 3pm on that day, an auction will take place.

In a further condition, all individual bids must be added together and will only take effect if they are greater than the initial $60 million Clearlake offer.

However, Clearlake can up its offer if it has been outbid - resulting in a complex auction process where valuable assets could theoretically be sold very cheap, providing other assets are sold for large figures.

Ubisoft, EA and Warner Bros. have each recently been cited as companies interested in THQ's assets.

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