Embracer Group has embarked on an acquisition binge today that includes Limited Run Games, Tripwire Interactive, and the IP ownership of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
There are five acquisitions today, alongside a sixth unknown deal for a PC and console gaming company.
The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit ownership imply Embracer now controls video games, movies, board games, stage productions, merchandising, and even theme-park rights for the Tolkien fantasy franchises. It includes Amazon’s massive and expensive take on Lord of the Rings that will pitch on Prime Video on September 2nd.
Embracer states that it could even explore “additional movies established on iconic characters such as Aragorn, Gollum, Gandalf, Galadriel, Eowyn and other characters from the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien.”
Embracer is a colossal publishing group that recently acquired big names like Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Thief and already operates over 100 studios, including Borderlands developer Gearbox, Saber Interactive, and THQ Nordic. In addition, Saudi Arabia recently bought a $1 billion stake in Embracer, around 8 percent of the company’s shares.
Embracer’s addition of Limited Run Games unlocks the door to more physical games across its studios and games. Limited Run is well available for collector’s editions, often allowing smaller developers to create physical replicas of their games. Tripwire is known for Maneater, Killing Floor, and Rising Storm. In addition, the extensive publishing group announced today the acquisition of home karaoke system Singtrix and Teardown developer Tuxedo Labs.
Embracer has been quietly building its big publishing group and owns comics and entertainment brand Dark Horse. “I am satisfied to welcome an outstanding group of entrepreneur-led companies to the Embracer family and to raise our portfolio with some truly remarkable IPs and franchises, including The Lord of the Rings,” states Embracer co-founder and CEO Lars Wingefors in a statement. “It is encouraging that the group has evolved into a natural and preferred buyer of growing, creative, and profitable businesses within Gaming and Entertainment.”
The five acquisitions announced today are around $577 million in total upfront costs, and there’s even a sixth secret purchase that Embracer isn’t disclosing yet. “Embracer has agreed to acquire another company within PC / console gaming that, for commercial explanations, is not disclosed today,” describes a financial filing. “The buying price for this un-disclosed acquisition is among the third or fourth-largest transactions.”
Embracer’s buying fling comes months after its deal to acquire Square Enix’s three major Western game studios amid massive acquisitions across the gaming industry. Sony acquired Destiny developer Bungie for $3.6 billion, and Take-Two spent $12.7 billion on FarmVille maker Zynga. Microsoft is also in the process of its giant Activision Blizzard acquisition for $68.7 billion.
Embracer Group AB, a Swedish video game and media holding company, was founded in Karlstad. The company was based under the name Nordic Games Licensing in 2011 as a region of Nordic Games Group and as the original publisher of Nordic Games GmbH.
The company has obtained various assets from defunct publishers, including JoWooD in 2011 and THQ in 2013. Nordic Games Licensing and its publishing subsidiary altered their names to THQ Nordic AB and THQ Nordic GmbH, utilizing the “THQ” trademark it obtained in 2014. In November 2016, it evolved into a public company listed on Nasdaq First North.
Throughout 2018, THQ Nordic acquired Koch Media Holding and Coffee Stain Holding, both of which became independently operating groups within THQ Nordic, complementary to THQ Nordic GmbH. To avoid confusion with THQ Nordic GmbH and to clarify its position as a holding company, THQ Nordic AB was renamed Embracer Group in September 2019, while THQ Nordic GmbH retained its name.
Embracer Group announced three significant acquisitions in February 2021: The Gearbox Entertainment Company, with Gearbox Software, for a cost of $1.3 billion, for which it will become the seventh major holding label within Embracer, Easybrain for $640 million, which will become the eighth major holding label, and Aspyr Media for $450 million which will be an associate underneath the Saber Interactive label. The acquisitions were formally finished in April 2021.
The company began issuing additional stock in March 2021 to raise another $890 million to strengthen its finances and continue its acquisition strategies.
In May 2021, the company announced the acquisition of Appeal Studios, Kaiko, and Massive Mini team under its THQ Nordic subsidiary, which has also established Gate 21 d.o.o. It enables the creation of “world-class 3D characters”, as well as acquired Frame Break under its Amplifier Game Invest subsidiary. The massive Mini team will be fully integrated within the HandyGames organization under the operative group THQ Nordic. Later that month, Embracer announced its intentions to build a vast games archive to “embrace the history of games.”
Embracer acquired several more companies at the beginning of August 2021, including 3D Realms, Ghost Ship Games, Slipgate Ironworks, DigixArt, Force Field, Easy Trigger, CrazyLabs, and Grimfrost, under a combined $313 million deal. Additionally, on August 18th, 2021, Embracer announced the acquisition of three more companies, having Demiurge Studios, Fractured Byte, and SmartPhone Labs, all of which will be made associates of Saber Interactive.
In December 2021, Embracer launched its intent to acquire Asmodee for €2.75 billion to incorporate it wholly as Embracer’s ninth operational group and allow Embracer to expand into the board game market. That same month, Embracer acquired Perfect World Entertainment, including its publishing arm and Cryptic Studios, from the Perfect World holding group and Perfect World Europe for $103 million.
Once approved, Perfect World Entertainment would become part of the Gearbox division. It further acquired Dark Horse Media, the parent company for Dark Horse Comics and Dark Horse Entertainment, establishing Dark Horse as its tenth operating division. Additionally, the company acquired Shiver Entertainment and Digic Pictures as part of the Saber group and Spotfilm Networx, a German video-on-demand service, as part of Koch Media.
As of August 2022, Embracer Group has eleven operative groups as its direct subsidiaries: Amplifier Game Invest, Asmodee, Coffee Stain Holding, Dark Horse Media, DECA Games, Easybrain, Embracer Freemode, Gearbox Entertainment, Plain, Saber Interactive, and THQ Nordic. In addition, each group has its operations, subsidiaries, and development studios.