Wizards made rather decent money at it - enough to justify a 14+ book line on the 3rd of their editions (SWSE had a core rulebook, 13 sourcebooks, and a lot of freebies). Based upon the way the news of the release was leaked, it looked like Wizards and Mongoose both were talking to LFL, and FFG secured the license out from under Wizards.
Sorry, but that's not entirely correct.
Wizards voluntarily chose not to renew their license (there was even announcement saying they had decided to let the license lapse rather than renew it), which then began the frenzy of other RPG publishers trying to scoop up the rights, amongst which were Mongoose and obviously FFG. It wasn't the case of WEG where the license-holder defaulted, as WotC was certainly making enough money off the minis line even when there wasn't an actively supported RPG to to pay the LFL licensing fees and still be in the black. Given WotC's increased focus on digial media for D&D (Insider and the character generator amidst other tools), the fact that they couldn't really do digital products for Star Wars may have been the deal-breaker for them and a leading reason why they opted not to renew their license.
If Wizards had wanted to keep the license, we wouldn't be having this discussion, as they would have simply renewed their license and FFG wouldn't be involved in Star Wars gaming at all. After all, there was a point when WotC announced a license renewal about six years ago (around the time that RotS hit theaters), during which time the RCR had been put on "indefinite hiatus" and Saga Edition wasn't anywhere close to being a concept. From a business perspcective, WotC chose to focus their RPG efforts on properties they owned, thus enabling them to keep a much larger share of the revenue as well as having the freedom to do what they want without having to go through a lengthy approvals process; after all, WotC had to delay publishing on The Force Unleashed campaign guide (slated to be the first supplement after the core rulebook was released) because LFL wanted a whole big "media tie-in event" for the game and LucasArts couldn't deliver the goods by the originally scheduled release date (methinks a lesson was learned regarding rushed products and upset fans courtesy of KOTOR2). That had to be annoying for the WotC top brass, to pretty much have a product that was ready to go the printers and that staff had already been paid for, but now had to wait several months before they could have a chance to seeing a return on investment.
It seems that in the case of licenses for RPGs, whoever nabs it has the option of enewing the license before the IP-owner can go looking for a new partner. In fact, it's probably a requirement so that a gaming company doesn't have the license suddenly yanked out from under them while in the midst of a successful product line and thus left with a bunch of product that they can't legally sell because they no longer hold said license. Given how must gaming companies operate on a pretty slim profit margin, they'd want some degree of assurance that the IP-owner won't just pull the rug out from under them on a whim or simply because another company promised a better return on investment, and a renewal option would be the most likely means of doing so.
Given the fiscal resources at Wizards' disposal thanks in no small part to D&D, then there's no way any other RPG company really would have been able to "buy the rights" out from under them.