THQ’s stock price dropped 47 percent in the wake of the company’s announcement yesterday that it had so little cash that it was exploring its strategic alternatives, meaning it is looking for a savior.
After reporting yet another quarterly loss, the struggling video game publisher said it had hired a consulting firm, Centerview Partners, to evaluate its “strategic alternatives” and that it did not have enough capital to fuel its plans. The stock drop today places THQ’s market value at $11 million. That compares to its market value of $281 million in early June 2011.
The stock fell after the company delayed all three of its major upcoming games. Jason Rubin, the newly appointed president of THQ, said he had evaluated three announced games in the pipeline and found them wanting. He asked for changes that would result in a two-month delay in publishing the games, including real-time strategy game Company of Heroes 2, role-playing game South Park: The Stick of Truth, and first-person shooter Metro: Last Light. As a result, THQ won’t have all of these games coming out and producing revenue as expected. THQ decided it would no longer issue earnings guidance going forward until it resolves its future.
THQ said it has $36 million in cash but has borrowed $21 million on its credit facility, resulting in net cash of about $15 million.
Atul Bagga, an analyst at Lazard Capital, said that the schedule slip for the major games raises the risks for THQ as to whether it will continue as a “going concern.” He noted that THQ’s $100 million in convertible senior notes come due in August 2014. Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said THQ is in danger of running out of money before the summer. The company has estimated sales of around $358 million, Pachter said.