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THQ Inks Multi-Game Licensing Deals With DreamWorks; Hires New Licensing Head

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THQ has secured new licensing deals with DreamWorks Animation, giving the company the rights to develop and publish new games based on the studio’s films and TV series. Financial terms of the multi-year deal weren’t disclosed, but THQ (NSDQ: THQI) does get to create games for all three consoles, wireless devices, as well as online services like the Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network.

THQ already had the license to publish games based on MegaMind, one of DreamWorks’ upcoming movies; the new deals expand the relationship to two new movies — Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom and Puss In Boots — as well as the animated TV show The Penguins of Madagascar. The licenses extend into 2011, as company plans to launch the games in conjunction with the theatrical releases of the films, a strategy that is quickly becoming the norm for Hollywood and video game industry collaborations.

The extended deals give THQ more potential to make money from kid-friendly content, something the company has succeeded at with franchises like Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob and Disney/Pixar’s WALL-E. In a research note, Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian said the deals were a “good fit” for THQ, since there’s some “uncertainty” around whether it will re-up its licensing deals with Nickelodeon.

In related news, the company has hired Germain Gioia as its SVP of licensing and merchandising. Gioia spent 14 years growing THQ’s franchise and licensing businesses, before leaving to serve as SVP of licensing for Capcom’s U.S. and European businesses in 2006. Reporting to CEO Brian Farrell, Gioia will work with all three of THQ’s restructured business units — core games, kids/casual games and online — on licensing and merchandising efforts. Release.