Embracer Group purchases Lord of the Rings in IP spending spree

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Swedish online game writer and media holding firm Embracer Group introduced its acquisition of eight properties this week, together with Center-earth Enterprises, which controls the mental property licensing rights to The Lord of the Rings franchise. These rights had been beforehand held by The Saul Zaentz Firm, which licensed out the property to New Line Cinema for Peter Jackson’s celebrated Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.

Whereas Embracer Group doesn’t personal Lord of the Rings — these rights are nonetheless owned and managed by the Tolkien Property — it does imply that Embracer now holds sway over any Lord of the Rings materials tailored into totally different mediums akin to movie, tv, board video games, theme parks and naturally, video video games. In a press launch, Embracer cited the assorted Lord of the Rings diversifications at the moment in growth, together with the upcoming Amazon streaming sequence “The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power,” which is about hundreds of years earlier than the unique trilogy and can cowl the Darkish Lord Sauron’s ascent because the eponymous Lord of the Rings.

Embracer additionally supplied a window into some doable future diversifications of Lord of the Rings with movies specializing in particular characters. Per the press launch:

“Other opportunities include 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 didn’t specify the acquisition worth for Center-earth Enterprises alone however estimated the whole price of all eight acquisitions at $780 million (or 8.2 billion Swedish krona). Among the different firms that Embracer added throughout its shopping for spree embody Tuxedo Labs (maker of the sport “Teardown”), Restricted Run Video games (a distributor of uncommon bodily copy video video games), Tripwire Interactive (“Killing Floor,” “Red Orchestra”) and Tatsujin (“Zero Wing,” the supply of early 2000s Engrish meme “All your base are belong to us.”).

That is enterprise as ordinary for Embracer. The holding firm has been pursuing a prolific acquisition marketing campaign since 2018, shopping for up online game studios, publishers and IPs. Embracer now holds reign over plenty of venerable online game franchises akin to Borderlands, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex and Thief. Alongside Lord of the Rings, Embracer additionally has a decent multimedia footprint by means of its possession of Umbrella Academy, Sin Metropolis, 300 and Hellboy by way of Darkish Horse Media.

In June, Embracer’s assets had been additional strengthened by means of a controversial $1 billion funding by Savvy Gaming Group (SGG), an arm of Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund which in flip is owned and operated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The funding was met with backlash as a result of Saudi Arabia’s historical past of human rights abuses and the prince’s suspected function within the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (Khashoggi was additionally a columnist for The Washington Publish). Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors that the monetary assist from SGG wouldn’t affect how Embracer is run in any means, stating that the corporate is “built on the principles of freedom, inclusion, humanity and openness,” in a subsequent press launch.

With an ever-expanding steady of media firms and new income streams, Embracer has emerged as a significant participant within the ongoing online game consolidation development. Prior to now yr, business juggernauts akin to Sony, Microsoft and Take-Two Interactive have quickly been shopping for and merging firms because the gaming market continues to develop by billions in income every year. If the present tempo continues, the worldwide online game business is projected to be price $321 billion by 2026, in line with a report by Value Waterhouse Coopers.

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