Embracer Group Acquires Gearbox Entertainment. Deal Worth Up To $1.3bn. Upfront cost $363 Million
The Embracer Group, which owns brands such as Koch Media and THQ Nordic have added Borderlands developer Gearbox to their portfolio. The deal has cost $363 Million up front but could be worth around $1.3 Billion, based on target performance over the next 5 years. All 550 staff at Gearbox retain their jobs.
The Embracer group, for the moment, are keeping Gearbox as a separate entity, which will give the Texan team a degree of autonomy. Co-Founder Randy Pitchford will continue to lead the company once the deal comes to completion.
Since it’s creation in 1999, Gearbox have been fiercely independent. They’re best known for the Borderlands series, but have also dragged Duke Nukem Forever out of development hell and worked on the Brothers In Arms shooters. In 2016 they started their publishing arm. Their most recent published game was the PS5 launch title Godfall.
In a message to concerned fans, Borderlands owners, 2K have said that nothing has changed with Gearbox’s relationship and will still develop games in the series should they wish to. It remains to be seen what the future holds on this front.
We can’t help be worried with the amount of studios being gobbled up by publishers. Microsoft and Bethesda owners, Zenimax, are waiting on an EU ruling to see if their merger can proceed. Nintendo picked up Next Level Games at the beginning of the year and in 2020, Insomniac was finally acquired after an almost exclusive period dating back to the PS2 days and Codemasters have entered into a big bucks deal with EA.
While the developers feel a level of security by being tied up in a huge publisher, this does also mean that they could potentially be creatively constrained with what they can produce and has less overall competition in the marketplace.