Borderlands studio Gearbox sold to Take-Two by Embracer for $460M


Troubled gaming conglomerate Embracer announced Thursday that it has agreed to sell Gearbox Entertainment, the studio behind the Borderlands games, to Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two for $460 million.

The deal makes a lot of sense — Take-Two has been the publisher for Borderlands through its 2K Games label since long before Gearbox was acquired by Embracer in 2021. In its press release, 2K said the next Borderlands game was in active development at Gearbox.

As part of the deal, Take-Two acquires the Borderlands franchise and its spinoff series Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, as well as the Homeworld, Risk of Rain, Brothers in Arms, and Duke Nukem series. The studios acquired by Take-Two are the Gearbox Software mothership in Frisco, Texas, as well as Gearbox Montréal and Gearbox Studio Quebec.

Embracer is hanging on to a few parts of the Gearbox empire: Gearbox Publishing San Francisco (which well be renamed), including the publishing rights to the Remnant games and Hyper Light Breaker; Cryptic Studios, the massively multiplayer specialist, with its games Neverwinter Online and Star Trek Online; and support studios Lost Boys Interactive and Captured Dimensions.

“As a significant long-term Embracer Group shareholder, I believe in the strategy for the Embracer Group going forward and am completely convinced that this transaction is the best possible scenario and an obvious net positive arrangement for Embracer Group, for Take-Two and, of course, for Gearbox Entertainment,” said Gearbox founder Randy Pitchford. “My primary interest is always Gearbox, including our talent and our customers. I want to personally ensure fans of our games that this arrangement will ensure that the experiences we have in development at Gearbox will be the best it can possibly be.”

For Embracer, the sale of Gearbox — one of its most prized assets — is the next step in a deep cost-cutting and restructuring process the company began last year after a reported $2 billion deal fell through. As part of its restructuring, Embracer laid off at least 900 people. Prior to its financial difficulties, the Swedish group, which began life as Nordic Games, had been on a wild acquisition spree that included the purchase of board game giant Asmodee, Square Enix’s Western studios and franchises including Tomb Raider, and the media rights for The Lord of the Rings.

Embracer also announced that it had completed the sale of another of its biggest studio groups, Saber Interactive, which it acquired in 2020. Saber’s founder Matthew Karch bought back the main Saber Interactive studio and several subsidiaries for $247 million, while Embracer retained Metro developer 4A Games, Aspyr, and others. Saber has the right to acquire 4A and pinball specialist Zen Studios within a certain time period, although publishing rights for the Metro games will stay with Embracer’s subsidiary Plaion. Saber is reportedly still collaborating with Embracer on the troubled remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.


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