THQ Taking Actions to Prepare for Sale – UFC and WWE Could Become Free Agents

Posted January 16th, 2012 at 8:30 am

As a company THQ has been struggling to stay afloat for some time now. The stock is currently trading at all-time lows (66 cents a share) and bankruptcy has been a logical conclusion should another company not step up and buy them in the near future. Something was going to happen sooner or later and the latest reports certainly paint a dire picture. 

According to various sources THQ has now canceled all projects slated for 2014 (predictably they have since issued a denial) and beyond in anticipation of a potential sale and are in the process of returning licenses they currently hold. To be clear there are no specific indications that THQ has backed their way out of the UFC and WWE licenses at this time – and next month’s UFC Undisputed 3 will definitely not be affected by any of this – but clearly there is a sense that THQ knows they aren’t going to be around for the long haul. Currently the company holds exclusives with both the UFC and WWE through 2018.

It’s unfortunately a plausible scenario that the licenses are vacated before the original deals come to completion. THQ doesn’t make for an especially attractive acquisition even for the relatively cheap price that the company could be had for. Regardless of whether they are eventually bought out or simply go bankrupt expect control of the UFC and WWE licenses to return to Dana White and Vince McMahon. They would not become property of say, EA or Activision, if they were to buy THQ. White and McMahon would then have the ability to sell their respective licenses to whomever they please.

Where would they end up going? Don’t expect White to consider EA Sports even if they offered the most cash and best development situation – he’s been vocal for years that he wants nothing to do with them after feeling they disrespected the sport in a previous negotiation. WWE on the other hand wouldn’t be a surprise to end up at the publisher. There are any number of possibilities though and it’s probably too early to speculate beyond that as situation will need to be monitored in all new developments going forward.