During THQ's chapter 11 bankruptcy auction, Bethesda parent Zenimax made a $26.3 million bid to purchase Company of Heroes developer Relic Entertainment. But the publisher was outbid by none other than Sega who coughed up a slightly larger $26.6 million. THQ Canada originally purchased the studio for around $10 million in an all-cash transaction in May 2004.
Between 1999 and 2013, Relic churned out around twelve titles and five expansion packs spanning the Homeworld, Company of Heroes and Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War franchises. Company of Heroes 2, which was already slated to be published by Sega before the acquisition, is set to arrive on the Windows PC platform early 2013 using the studio's proprietary Essence 3.0 game engine.
On Thursday after the Relic purchase, Sega said that it bought the studio to reinforce its PC game development capabilities in the U.S. and European regions. Of course, Relic's numbers likely helped drive Sega's high-dollar bid too, as the Warhammer 40k Dawn of War series has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide whereas the Company of Heroes series has sold more than 4 million units worldwide.
"We are thrilled to have Relic Entertainment join the Sega family. The acquisition is a strategic fit and a critical step in growing our business," said John Cheng, President and CFO, Sega of America. "They are a well-respected studio with a pedigree for making creative and innovative games and we look forward to seeing what great things we can create together over the coming years."
Sega didn't say what IPs were scooped up along with the studio's purchase, but the company did mention the Company of Heroes and Warhammer 4: Dawn of War franchises in its announcement on Thursday. A letter from Sega to Develop also confirmed that the Sonic publisher acquired all shares of Relic Entertainment and "THQ’s IP related to the titles developed by THQ Canada." Sega also purchased Relic's R&D engines as part of the deal.
"As a result of the THQ Canada acquisition, Sega will further advance the provision of various appealing entertainment contents by utilizing THQ Canada’s high-end content development capabilities and accumulated development know-how, and increase Sega’s presence in the PC online game market," Sega said.
Sega's current PC library includes Aliens vs. Predator, Total War: Shogun, Space Siege, Medieval II: Total War, the upcoming Aliens: Colonial Marines from Gearbox and several more titles.