Embracer Group has reportedly acquired Borderlands developer Gearbox Entertainment for an estimated $1.3 billion. The video game holding company based in Karlstad, Sweden, which has 5,500 employees around the world, will add 550 new staff members from Gearbox.
Gearbox, headquartered in Frisco, Texas, also has offices in Quebec City, Canada. The company will become Embracer Group’s seventh label. In November, Embracer announced it had acquired twelve game studios and a public relations firm. The group is also set to buy Easybrain, a mobile game maker in Cyprus, for $640 million.
In addition to Gearbox and Easybrain, Embracer owns Amplifier Game Invest, Coffee Stain Holding, DECA Games, Koch Media, Saber Interactive and THQ Nordic. The group has a catalog of over 200 franchises, including Saints Row, Goat Simulator, Dead Island, Darksiders, Metro, MX vs ATV, Kingdoms of Amalur, TimeSplitters, Satisfactory, Wreckfest, Insurgency, and World War Z, among others.
Gearbox, founded in 1999 by five former Rebel Boat Rocker developers, is best known for the Borderlands and Brothers in Arms franchises. The studio has also collaborated on the development of Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, 007 James Bond, and Halo.
“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,” said Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford in a statement.
The company has confirmed that Pitchford will continue to lead Gearbox. Embracer, which has 57 game development studios in 40 countries, has agreed to pay $188 million in cash and $175 million in shares for Gearbox. If Gearbox meets its financial goals in the next six years, it will also receive an additional $1.01 billion in cash and shares.
“Gearbox is arguably one of the most creative and valuable independent developers in the world,” said Lars Wingefors, founder and CEO of Embracer Group, in a statement. “We believe that the resources offered by Embracer will position Gearbox for significant growth in the years to come.”
According to Embracer, Gearbox generated $125.2 million in 2019 and $123 million in the first nine months of 2020. The Borderlands franchise has sold more than 60 million copies, while the Brother in Arms series has sold more than 10 million copies.
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