THQ's auction has come and gone, leaving some studios and IPs with new homes, while others remain in the wind. Leading up to the auction there was speculation about what companies such as Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) and Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX)'s Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment were hoping to get from the asset auction; now that the auction has ended and all that remains is to complete the auction-related sales, there were a few surprises to be had.
Most surprisingly, neither Electronic Arts nor Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment walked away with anything. Both of the companies were mentioned frequently in discussions leading up to the auction, but neither was listed as the winning or backup bidder in court documents released upon the conclusion of the auction. It's possible, of course, that one or both companies placed bids on THQ assets but were outbid by others participating in the auction.
Another surprise came from Relic Entertainment, developer of the Dawn of War and Company of Heroes franchises. Sega Sammy Holdings won the studio with a $26.6 million bid, making it the highest-valued asset in the auction. Relic's value may be in part due to how close the planned release date for Company of Heroes 2 is; Sega could have paid a premium due to having a game ready to release soon after acquisition. They weren't the only company bidding high; however, as the backup bid listed in court documents was $26.3 million from Bethesda Softworks' parent ZeniMax Media Only the Company of Heroes franchise was mentioned in the documents so it is unclear whether Sega will gain rights to other Relic-developed IP in the purchase; at the very least it has been confirmed that the Homeworld series is not included as it is scheduled for inclusion in a later sale. The company will likely have to license the Dawn of War series separately from Games Workshop, though given that Sega already holds a license for Warhammer Fantasy games there is a good possibility that it could end up with the necessary Warhammer 40k license as well.
The asset with the next highest value was Saints Row and Red Faction developer Volition Inc. which received a winning bid of $22.3 million from Koch Media GmbH. It remains to be seen what Volition's ultimate fate will be, however, as Koch is transferring the Saints Row franchise to its Deep Silver studio. Koch also aquired the rights to the Metro franchise for $5.8 million, beating out bids from Ubisoft Entertainment SA (EPA:UBI) on both of those properties.