Earlier today THQ declared bankruptcy and the intention to sell off assets to Clearlake Capital Group representing the latest development in what is the gradual demise of the company.
While some ongoing projects at THQ have been confirmed to continue development the one property on the most shaky ground considering its licensed status is WWE. Several franchises were named-dropped by THQ president Jason Rubin today as still being on track and WWE was not one of them.
Notable in the news release today was the comment that “the sale will allow THQ to shed certain legacy obligations”. The WWE license would make for a significant legacy obligation as the expensive commitment had been made through 2018. The WWE is the second largest unsecured creditor for THQ as they currently owe them over $45 million.
The bankruptcy and sale then looks likely to lead to one of two scenarios. The first is that the agreement frees up the license completely allowing WWE to take it to the highest bidder. The other relates to a transfer of the license in similar fashion as to how the UFC was handled back in June with it moving to EA Sports.
If that were to be the case the WWE would have to sign off on any such transfer just as the UFC did. Either way the power is in the WWE’s hands for how to move forward.
Potential suitors for the WWE license could include EA Sports, Take Two, and Activision. EA has shown interest in the past but having just taken on the UFC and with a significant investment in NBA Live it would be tough to imagine them taking on another new project when MLB is also out there to be claimed if desired. Regardless of who ends up with WWE the development process will be a lengthy one and it may not appear then until a year or two into the next generation of consoles.