In 2021, Embracer Group purchased Borderlands developer Gearbox Software for approximately $1.3 billion. The acquisition was one of a number made by Embracer over the last two years, but a lot has changed in that time. After a reported $2 billion deal fell through, companies owned by Embracer Group have been hit with layoffs and closures. Embracer is reportedly looking to sell off Gearbox as part of a wider restructuring effort, and some have speculated that Take-Two might be interested. Strauss Zelnick was asked about the possibility during the company's annual shareholder meeting, but the Take-Two CEO noted that he doesn't comment on "potential transactions."
"We've had a long-term relationship with Gearbox of which we're very proud. They're a wonderful company, they've delivered for us—not just Borderlands, but also Tiny Tina's Wonderlands and other titles—and I've no doubt they'll continue to be successful in the future," said Zelnick. "We're thrilled that we have a long-term publishing relationship on these titles. That publishing relationship exists without regard to the ultimate owner of Gearbox. But with regard to our potential interest, we don't tend to speculate on potential transactions."
As Zelnick notes, Take-Two has a long history of working with Gearbox, and would seem to be a perfect match; Borderlands is even featured prominently on the Take-Two website! While it would seem like a completely logical business decision, there's no way of knowing whether it will actually happen. If Embracer truly is looking to sell off Gearbox, hopefully the studio will end up somewhere it can thrive!
Embracer Group's Struggles
As of this writing, Embracer Group has not acknowledged the reports that it's looking to sell Gearbox. However, the company has been making a lot of cost saving moves lately. In August, Embracer closed Saint's Row developer Volition, and earlier this week, layoffs were announced at Crystal Dynamics. Given the viability of the Tomb Raider franchise, Crystal Dynamics would seem to be safe from sharing a fate similar to Volition, and would probably makes it an unlikely sale. Selling Gearbox would help Embracer's restructuring efforts, and hopefully offer stability for some of the other companies under its umbrella.
What Companies Does Embracer Own?
In addition to Gearbox, Embracer Group owns a number of different companies. The vast majority of these are gaming studios, including Gearbox Software, Crystal Dynamics, THQ Nordic, Saber Interactive, Limited Run Games, and many more. In addition to these gaming studios, Embracer completed a purchase of Dark Horse Media in 2022. It remains to be seen whether other companies could be put up for sale as part of Embracer's restructuring efforts.
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