EA considered purchasing THQ in late 2011, court documents have revealed.
Detailed in THQ's court case against EA over its 'wrongful' acquisition of the UFC license, the defunct publisher revealed that it "began to explore strategic alternatives" back in late 2011, "including a sale of the company to private equity or an industry partner. EA was a logical party to approach, given its indications of interest in the UFC Franchise.
"In early December 2011, EA and THQ discussed a potential sale of THQ as a whole to EA," the documents read. “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."
THQ closed its doors earlier this year after it failed to find a buyer to bail it out of its financial difficulties.
As part of the process THQ auctioned off multiple intellectual properties, including Homefront, Darksiders, Company of Heroes, Saints Row and Red Faction. Despite the alleged earlier interest, EA chose not to purchase any of them.
THQ states that "EA, for its part, wanted to acquire only the choicest portions of THQ rather than commit to the company as a whole as a strategic acquirer", showing particular interest in the UFC series.
"The UFC Franchise was a significant, saleable asset in THQ's gaming portfolio," the court documents continue, "with a net present value of about $20 million at the time. However, with Zuffa's determination to capture the additional value to be gained in a transfer of the UFC Franchise to EA, THQ had no choice but to seek a resolution with Zuffa."
EA announced that it had acquired the rights to the UFC license in June 2012. Its first game, EA Sports UFC, launches on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in early 2014.
THQ is seeking damages of "at least $10 million" from EA over what it calls its "wrongful detainment" of the UFC license.