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Embracer buys rights to Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and a bunch of other stuff

The latest spending spree cost Embracer around $788 million.

Chris Kerr

August 18, 2022

3 Min Read
The One Ring

Swedish conglomerate Embracer Group has announced deluge of major acquisitions that will see it nab the rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit literary works and purchase a number of notable studios and companies including Tripwire Interactive, Tuxedo Labs, and more.

Okay, let's start from the top. The company has announced a total of six acquisitions at a combined price of SEK 8.2 billion ($788 million), comprising four buyouts, one undisclosed deal, and one major intellectual property acquisition that will essentially grant it the keys to the world of Middle-earth.

Starting with the latter, Embracer has entered into an agreement to acquire Middle-earth Enterprises, which is the division of The Saul Zanetz Company that owns the worldwide rights to movies, video games, board games, merchandising, stage productions, and theme parks relating to the literary works of The Lord of the Rings book trilogy and The Hobbit.

Embracer struck that deal through its Freemode subsidiary and explained the move is in line with its "IP-driven trans media strategy." The company has indicated it will look to create movies based on key characters from The Lord of the Rings like Gandalf, Aragorn, Galadriel, Eowyn, and Gollum. It also aims to "provide new opportunities" for fans to explore J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy world by creating "other experiences," such as the board games that have already been developed by Embracer's Asmodee Group subsidiary.

"I am truly excited to have The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, one of the world’s most epic fantasy franchises join the Embracer family, opening up more transmedia opportunities including synergies across our global group," said Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors. "I am thrilled to see what lies in the future for this IP with Freemode and Asmodee as a start within the group. Going forward, we also look forward to collaborating with both existing and new external licensees of our increasingly stronger IP portfolio."

Big spender

Embracer also made two more acquisitions through Freemode, grabbing vocal processing effects company Singtrix and premium physical game publisher Limited Run Games for undisclosed fees.

Singtrix is best known for developing and patenting the core technology behind the Guitar Hero franchise, and according to Embracer will help Freemode "vastly expand its entertainment offerings."

Limited Run, meanwhile, specializes in publishing collector's editions and has worked on notable projects including Day of the Tentacle Remastered, Doom 64, and Doom Eternal. Embracer said it sees opportunities for Limited Run to expand its business under the Freemode banner by bringing back classic games and establishing a global presence through synergies with some of its other subsidiaries.

Moving on, Embracer has also entered into deals to acquire U.S. developer-publisher Tripwire Interactive and Teardown developer Tuxedo Labs through its Saber Interactive subsidiary for undisclosed fees.

Tripwire has worked on projects such as Killing Floor, Rising Storm, and Maneater, and also boasts its own publishing division, Tripwire Presents. The company will become a part of the Saber Interactive operative group and will look to ramp up its publishing efforts while creating new titles.

Tuxedo Labs was of particular interest to Embracer because of its work on voxel-based destruction game, Teardown, which will continue to be supported post-acquisition. "We will now be able to rapidly expand and accelerate our plans for Teardown, including bringing it to new audiences, while simultaneously focusing on evolving voxel-based technology for our next generation of games," said Tuxedo Labs founder Dennis Gustafsson.

Finally, Embracer said it has also entered into an agreement to acquire another company within the PC and console space that cannot be disclosed for commercial reasons. "The purchase price for this un-disclosed acquisition is in the range of being among either third or fourth largest of the transactions," added Embracer. "The consideration and financial impact from this undisclosed acquisition is included in the disclosed numbers in this press release."

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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