THQ sues EA and Zuffa over UFC license deal

THQ discussed sale of company to EA.

EA were in talks to buy publisher THQ before it went bust, court documents published by Polygon have revealed.

The now defunct but not quite dead publisher THQ is suing EA and UFC brand owner Zuffa alleging EA's deal to gain the UFC license was the result of fraudulent negotiations.

EA, which plans to release EA Sports UFC in 2014, gained the UFC licence in June 2012 - six months before THQ, which had released three well-received UFC games of its own, declared itself bankrupt. At the time Zuffa paid THQ $10 million for breaking its contract, but THQ reckons it should have received around $20 million.

Here's the shady bit: THQ alleges EA used documents obtained from THQ while it discussed buying the ex-Saints Row, Warhammer 40k and South Park publisher to undermine its relationship with Zuffa.

"Throughout 2011, THQ's financial fortunes continued to decline," reads the court document. "It dedicated significant, dwindling capital to expanding the platforms for its uDraw hardware gaming tablet, which was a failure in holiday 2011 sales.

"By the end of November 2011, THQ projected that it would run out of capital within several months and thereafter be unable to support its major pipeline projects, including the next games in the UFC franchise."

According to the filing, it was at this point that THQ began exploring "strategic alternatives", including a potential sale to EA. "EA was a logical party to approach, given its indications of interest in the UFC franchise," THQ claims.

"In early December 2011, EA and THQ discussed a potential sale of THQ as a whole to EA. THQ provided EA internal financial information, including detailed sales and revenue figures for the UFC franchise, and projected marketing expenditures on the next UFC franchise game.

"After a December 12, high level meeting, several discussions, and a review of management projections, EA broke off negotiations, professing disinterest."

Two weeks later, THQ alleges, Zuffa threatened to terminate the UFC license based on THQ's insolvency. "On information and belief, EA communicated THQ's internal financial information and projections to Zuffa," THQ claims.

THQ reckons it's owned the UFC franchise rights, or its value. It also wants interest on the value of the franchise from 13th September 2013.

EA has said the "claims are without merit".

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