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Embracer to acquire Lord of the Rings IP, Tripwire, Limited Run and more

Upfront buying price to reach SEK 6 billion ($576 million) for five acquisitions plus "one unannounced" purchase

At a glance:

  • Embracer Group acquires Middle-earth Enterprises, Limited Run and Singtrix via new division, Freemode
  • Tripwire Interactive and Tuxedo Labs acquired via subsidiary Saber Interactive
  • Embracer has done an additional acquisition, that remains unannounced
  • Aggregated upfront purchase price reaches $576 million

Embracer has announced a number of major acquisitions, including the IP rights to the Lord of the Rings and Maneater developer Tripwire Interactive.

The company announced five acquisitions early this morning, plus "one unannounced acquisition," for an aggregated upfront purchase price of SEK 6 billion ($576 million).

Among the purchases, Embracer entered an agreement to acquire Middle-earth Enterprises, a division of The Saul Zaentz Company which has owned the IP rights to the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit for over 50 years. Embracer said that the acquisition may also include "matching rights in other Middle-earth-related literary works authorised by the Tolkien Estate and HarperCollins, which have yet to be explored."

Embracer said the acquisition was "in line" with its "IP-driven transmedia strategy" and expressed interest in "exploring additional movies based on iconic characters such as Gandalf, Aragorn, Gollum, Galadriel, Eowyn and other characters from the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and continue to provide new opportunities for fans to explore this fictive world through merchandising and other experiences."

Embracer also acquired collectors' editions publisher Limited Run, with the transaction also including the company's "40% ownership in the joint-venture Super Deluxe Games in Japan that will source more games to Limited Run on the Western market and provide a channel to sell Limited Run’s catalogue in one of the strongest markets in the world for physical games."

Singtrix, which provides "vocal processing effects technology for karaoke, gaming, and entertainment" was also part of buying spree, with its acquisition (alongside Middle-earth Enterprises and Limited Run) done via Embracer's new operative division, Freemode.

Freemode will focus its "operating activities in the retro, classic, and heritage gaming category, as well as investing in iconic gaming and entertainment properties," Embracer said.

The group also announced the acquisition of Killing Floor and Maneater developer Tripwire Interactive (and its publishing arm Tripwire Presents), as well as Teardown developer Tuxedo Labs, both via its subsidiary Saber Interactive.

Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors commented: "Today Embracer becomes an even better group. I am pleased to welcome an amazing group of entrepreneur-led companies to the Embracer family and to extend our portfolio with some truly remarkable IPs and franchises, including The Lord of the Rings.

"It is encouraging that our group has become a natural and preferred buyer of creative, growing and profitable companies within Gaming and Entertainment. Several discussions with entrepreneurs now joining have been ongoing for more than three years before the stars aligned today, which underlines the importance of a long-term perspective in building our group."

Earlier this year, Variety reported that the Saul Zaentz Company was looking to sell the rights for several J.R.R Tolkien works, including The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit.

In May, Embracer acquired Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix Montreal for $300 million.