THQ's individual franchises up for grabs, more show up to bid

THQ's bankruptcy, once expected to be the intimate dinner for two that executives of the bankrupt publisher were hoping for, is turning into a Vegas buffet. Over the weekend, U.S. bankruptcy Judge Mary F. Walrath put the kibosh on THQ's eyebrow-raising quick sale to the private equity firm Clearlake Capital Group, allowing more time for other interested parties to get involved.

The Twitter feed for Distressed Debt Investing has been doing courtroom reporting, noting that the judge has set an auction date of January 22 where THQ assets could be sold individually. It's also been reported that Electronic Arts is now among the bidders. Warner Bros. has also been acknowledged as sniffing around, along with several others.

EA already got a good deal out of THQ in the middle of last year, leveraging THQ's precarious financial situation and taking the UFC license by offering up an "undisclosed cash payment." Warner Bros. has also shown talent in the bargain-basement bankruptcy shopping experience, grabbing Mortal Kombat during Midway's collapse.

Let's not kid ourselves: the fresh shrimp flown in this morning at this THQ buffet is the Saints Row franchise. The latest game has shipped 5 million units and the franchise has sold 11 million units. Both EA and WB's portfolios are missing an established sandbox crime game – and the bonus of having a new Saints Row delivered this year on a platter.