THQ has told GamesIndustry.biz that it expects continued growth for its wireless business, dismissing suggestions that the sale of shares in Minick Holding signals a move away from the mobile sector.
Minick is a mobile Internet portal and SMS provider which offers a range of services including mobile marketing and and text voting. THQ acquired 25 per cent of the company in 2002 when it provided a loan of US$1.5 million (Euro 1.13 million), which was later converted to an equity investment. An additional 25 per cent was purchased in April 2004, bringing THQ's investment total up to US$12.2 million (Euro 9.2 million).
Earlier this week Swisscom Mobile aquired all shares in Minick - 50 per cent from THQ, and the other half from management and present and former employees.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter has since said he believes that, "THQ's gain or loss is no more than a few million dollars, with no more than a few pennies of impact to its income statement either way.
"Although we believe that this deal is relatively immaterial to THQ from a financial perspective and are not making a change to our estimates, we believe it signals a lessening commitment to the THQ Wireless business," Pachter continued.
"The disposition of Minick could signal that growth in THQ's wireless revenue will be even more tempered than previously announced, and there is some potential that wireless revenue will actually decline going forward."
But according to a THQ spokesperson, the company remains committed to producing a high volume of mobile content - and still believes there's potential for growth.
"THQ Wireless has a tremendous amount of wireless content, which we believe is critical to long-term success on the wireless platform," the spokesperson said.
"Our wireless business has grown each year and we expect it to grow at a greater rate next year."
THQ Wireless was established in 2001 and now distributes games to a potential audience of more than 750 million subscribers, offering titles based on franchises such as Moto GP, NBA, SpongeBob Square Pants and South Park. The company also offers a range of mobile games based on THQ's PC and console offerings, such as Destroy All Humans and Full Spectrum Warrior.