Embracer Group reportedly selling the studios behind Borderlands and Snowrunner game franchises

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As part of its restructuring program, embattled giant Embracer Group is selling the studios behind Borderlands and the Snowrunner in multi-million dollar deals.

After the buying frenzy in 2020, in which Swedish firm Embracer Group merrily ran around buying all the studios it could get its hands on, we now appear to be entering a period of divestment.

With Embracer forced to embark on a major restructuring campaign following the collapse of a deal worth $2bn in 2023, reports emerged that the firm was thinking about selling Gearbox Entertainment, the studio behind the hit Borderlands franchise.

According to sources over at Kotaku, a deal to sell Gearbox is in the final stages of being agreed, with Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford reportedly telling staff in a meeting this week that more would be announced in the coming weeks. Pitchford declined Kotaku’s invitation to comment officially on the matter.

Another studio which may be about to escape Embracer’s clutches is Saber Interactive, the studio behind an upcoming remake of Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic as well as the Snowrunner franchise.

According to Bloomberg (via Eurogamer), Saber would become a private company if the deal – worth some $500m – were to go ahead. That’s less than the $525m Embracer paid for Saber in 2020, which provides a hint at the kind of financial cosh the holding company is under. Embracer also paid $1.3bn for Gearbox Entertainment in 2021, though it’s not currently known how much it might sell the studio on for, or to whom.

Read more: Embracer Group | The giant that has changed the videogame industry, for better or worse

In November 2023, Embracer confirmed that it had laid off 900 staff, equating to five percent of its work force; that number has since risen to 1,387 employees. There have also been a huge number of games cancelled – it’s thought that a total of 29 projects were axed in the second half of 2023.

Valued at almost $10bn at its 2022 peak, Embracer Group’s turmoil is part of a wider industry recession which has seen thousands of jobs lost at developers large and small. On the 29th February, it was announced that publisher EA had cancelled a Star Wars game at Apex Legends studio Respawn, while the publisher announced 670 layoffs across the various companies under its umbrella.

As always, our thoughts go out to anyone who’s lost their job in what is surely the most grim period for the games industry in decades.

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