One of the biggest game development studios in Texas, Borderlands developer Gearbox Entertainment, is now an official subsidiary of the Embracer Group. The previously announced sale, which is valued at up to $1.3 billion, has officially closed, the two companies said in a news release on Tuesday.
Gearbox is just the latest high-profile studio that Embracer has acquired in recent years, joining the likes of Valheim publisher Coffee Stain and Saints Row studio Deep Silver, among others. Embracer also owns THQ Nordic. In total, Embracer now reports to have 63 internal game development studios with more than 7,000 employees globally across 40 countries.
In the news release, Embracer said Gearbox is now better prepared for “rapid growth” across its game development divisions and its publishing arm.
“Our team is incredibly excited about the opportunity we now have,” Gearbox CEO and founder Randy Pitchford said. “Far from riding off into the sunset, we are now positioned to launch new IP, do more with our existing brands, grow our base of incredibly talented team members, and capitalize on new opportunities in our mission to entertain the world. This just the start.”
Gearbox has 550 employees across its Frisco, Texas and Quebec City offices. The studio is known best for the Borderlands series, but it has also worked on a great number of other big-name franchises such as Half-Life, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, James Bond, Counter-Strike, and Halo. The company started a publishing division in 2015 and has published titles like Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, We Happy Few, and the PS5 launch title Godfall. Not all of Gearbox’s games have been as successful as Borderlands, as its MOBA-style game Battleborn failed to find an audience and its servers have since gone dark. Additionally, Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines were not very well received.
Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors said in a statement that its acquisition of Gearbox is the largest buyout in his company’s history. “We are confident in Gearbox’s long-term future within Embracer Group.”
The deal is worth up to $1.3 billion, but the majority of that is dependent on Gearbox reaching certain performance milestones. Gearbox got $188 million in cash up front, with further upfront payments that net the company $363 million on day one of the deal. Gearbox can earn many millions more if the company reaches certain milestones, and then a further $715 million after that pending other key milestones. You can see the full terms of the acquisition in GameSpot’s previous coverage.
Embracer’s buyout of Gearbox is just the latest example of high-profile consolidation in the gaming industry. In March, Microsoft completed its $7.5 billion acquisition of ZeniMax and its subsidiaries, including Bethesda. That was the second-largest gaming acquisition in history, only trailing Tencent’s $8.6 billion buyout of Clash of Clans developer Supercell years ago.
Next up for Borderlands is the Borderlands 3: Director’s Cut, which releases on April 8 following a delay. A Borderlands movie is also in the works with some big-name talent behind it. Just recently, a seven-foot Dutch bodybuilder from Marvel’s Black Widow joined the cast.
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