THQ has sued EA and UFC parent company Zuffa, claiming EA intentionally damaged THQ's relationship with Zuffa to broker a deal of its own for the UFC license. THQ claims EA used inside knowledge about its financial situation to commit "tortious interference" with its contract, and THQ is seeking to recover the value of the UFC property, the profits of the UFC franchise and at least $10 million in damages from EA. The suit also aims to disallow Zuffa's bankruptcy claims against THQ.
In early December 2011, EA considered buying THQ outright and the two companies entered negotiations, according to THQ's suit
filed with the Delaware district court. THQ says it provided EA with detailed financial information, including revenue and projected stats on its UFC franchise. On December 12, 2011, EA walked away from the potential buyout, and on December 30, 2011, Zuffa sent THQ a Demand Letter expressing the intent to terminate the UFC license.
Though the UFC franchise was worth $20 million, THQ settled with Zuffa for $10 million. EA snagged
the UFC license in 2012. EA Sports UFC
is due out in 2014 for Xbox 360 and PS4.
On December 19, 2012, THQ filed for bankruptcy
. Looking back, THQ puts the pieces together as follows:
"Prior to the Demand Letter, EA contacted Zuffa, informed Zuffa of THQ's perilous financial condition and expressed interest in acquiring the UFC franchise directly from Zuffa, causing Zuffa to threaten termination of the UFC license."
An EA spokesperson tells Polygon
, "We believe these claims are without merit."