Embracer Group has acquired Borderlands developer Gearbox Entertainment in a landmark deal. Embracer adds the games that Gearbox is working on to their growing portfolio that at one point, had more than 70 games in development.
In a press release on its website, Gearbox Entertainment has confirmed the deal and announced they will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Embracer Group. The companies will then work together on future projects. And it’s likely that this isn’t the end of news about Embracer acquisitions this year. The company has previously bought other high-profile companies, including THQ Nordic, Saber Interactive, and Koch Media.
The deal consists of various parts, the principal of which is a bulk purchase of $363 million to Gearbox. Embracer will also issue $175 million in stock to create options for newly acquired employees. The deal has vested all 550 employees of Gearbox Entertainment as shared stakeholders in Embracer Group, investing them in the future of their games even more. There is also a bonus taget that matures over the next few years, valued at a total of $1.01 billion if the studio meets “agreed financial and operational targets.”
As for changes in day-to-day operations, there’s not much to speak on. Randy Pitchford will remain working with the team, although answering to a new board of bosses. The employees all seem very happy about the deal, Pitchford added, “The feeling at Gearbox is that we are just getting started, and this transaction is not merely a stimulant for the talent of our employee-owned company, but a propellent for the exciting future we have planned.”
Borderlands 3 and the rest of the shooter franchise was likely a big part of why this deal was so highly valued. The newest AAA game from the developer, Borderlands 3, was a big infusion of cash for the company. The game sold 5 million copies in its first five days on shelves. By Feb. 2020 it had sold a total of 8 million copies across all platforms. The franchise as a whole has only been the second Gearbox IP to generate $1 billion in sales in its lifetime.
Gearbox Entertainment is also working on a few new IPs for future release, although details are light on those. It would seem that 2021 and beyond look very bright for the company.
CCO of Saber Interactive, Tim Willits, was also very enthusiastic about the future of the studio. On Twitter as the news broke he said, “the combination of this level of talent coming together is truly amazing. Look forward to great things.”