By Steve Wright
This weekend opened an interesting new chapter in THQ's bankruptcy saga, as a group of lenders to the failing company filed an objection in a Delaware court over THQ's quick sale to the Clearlake Capital Group a fortnight ago.
The lenders claim that the sped-up sale of THQ's studios, franchises and other assets to Clearlake means that other potential buyers do not have the ability to make competitive bids on piecemeal segments of the company -- specifically, on seperate portions of THQ's most popular franchises like Saints Row and Darksiders.
The lenders -- who hold approximately $41 million in convertible notes -- have filed saying that Clearlake's acquisition of THQ "appear[s] to have been designed specifically to thwart any potential bidders from stepping forward to compete with Clearlake's bid."
According to Law360, THQ counsel Jeffrey C. Krause said at the filing's hearing that THQ's quick sale was necessary as the company will reportedly run out of cash by 15 January.
Distressed Debt Investing took to Twitter during the hearing to report that Centerview Partners banker Sam Greene testified that five buyers are currently performing due diligence on THQ. Greene also reportedly said those five buyers are highly interested in purchasing segments of the ailing company, not THQ as a whole.
One of those five potential buyers is reported to be Warner Bros. This would be nothing new for the publishing house, who purchased Mortal Kombat and Spy Hunter from Midway Games in 2009 during a similar bankruptcy crisis. Lawyers for Warner Bros. have reportedly said they have a "team ready to complete due diligence if more time is allowed" for THQ's sale.
Another potential buyer of piecemail assets could be Ubisoft, whose head Yves Guillemot has publically stated that his company is interested in several THQ franchises.
We'll update you on this story as more develops.