Sega acquires game developer Relic from THQ auction

The US$26.6 million buy gives Sega access to the maker of "Warhammer 40k Dawn of War" and "Company of Heroes"

Japan's Sega snapped up THQ's Canadian game development firm, Relic Entertainment Studio, at a bankruptcy auction, acquiring the maker of popular franchises including "Warhammer 40k" and "Company of Heroes."

Sega said Friday it made the purchase to "reinforce PC game development capabilities in the U.S. and European regions."

The Japanese game maker praised Relic's record for producing hit titles, noting that the "Warhammer 40k Dawn of War" line has sold over 7 million copies worldwide and "Company of Heroes" has sold over 4 million.

The Sega acquisition was made possible by the bankruptcy of THQ, filed in December, and the subsequent sale of most of its assets earlier this week. Sega said it will add Relic to its existing stable of three development companies in the U.S. and Europe.

Sega bid US$26.6 million for Relic, narrowly beating out Zenimax Media's bid of $26.3 million, according to a court document filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

It said it also acquired other intellectual property owned by THQ, but didn't specify.

The court document showed that the Sega buy was the largest acquisition at the THQ auction. Other winning bids included the purchase of Volition by Koch Media for $22 million and of Evolve by Take-Two Interactive Software for about $11 million.

While Sega is known in the West mainly as the videogame maker behind iconic titles like Sonic the Hedgehog and Puyo Puyo, the company is part of a larger conglomerate that generates the bulk of its income from Japanese gambling hardware. It also operates a chain of large arcades.

The company once had its own home game console, the Dreamcast, but exited the business in 2001 after years of steep losses.

Relic was founded in 1997 and acquired by THQ in 2004.

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