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‘Tomb Raider’ owner Embracer splits into three companies

Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends will manage the intellectual property rights Embracer has for "The Lord of the Rings" and the "Tomb Raider" games
Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends will manage the intellectual property rights Embracer has for "The Lord of the Rings" and the "Tomb Raider" games - Copyright AFP/File JULIEN DE ROSA
Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends will manage the intellectual property rights Embracer has for "The Lord of the Rings" and the "Tomb Raider" games - Copyright AFP/File JULIEN DE ROSA

Sweden’s Embracer, owner of the “Tomb Raider” franchise, announced Monday it would split into three separate companies in a major reset for one of Europe’s biggest video game groups.

Following the announcement, the company’s shares rose over 10 percent in the early hours of trading on the Stockholm stock exchange.

The new entity, Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends, will manage the group’s most well-known and big budget game studios — such as Crystal Dynamics, Dambuster Studio and Eidos-Montreal — representing net sales of 14.1 billion kronor ($1.3 billion).

“As a standalone company, ‘Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends’ will operate as a more transparent entity, offering a better structure to maximize the potential of its highly strategic franchises,” Embracer said in a statement.

The group will replace Embracer as the main entity on the Stockholm stock exchange and manage the intellectual property rights Embracer has for “The Lord of the Rings” and the “Tomb Raider” games.

Asmodee Group will gather Embracer’s tabletop business, which includes popular games like “Ticket to Ride” and “7 Wonders”, with an “ambition to grow organically in line with the market”, though not ruling out acquisitions, and representing 14.8 billion kronor.

Lastly, Coffee Stain & Friends will focus on smaller and mid-sized studios and productions as well as free-to-play games for the PC, console and mobile markets.

The entity represents sales of 10.9 billion kronor.

Shares in Asmodee and Coffee Stain & Friends will be distributed to Embracer’s shareholders as dividends.

“With this new structure, the three entities will be able to focus on executing their core strategies and leveraging their own strengths,” Embracer chairman Kicki Wallje-Lund said.

The investment firm of Embracer founder Lars Wingefors — the company’s main shareholder — said it plans to remain an “active, committed, and supportive shareholder of all three new entities”.

Asmodee is expected to list within 12 months, while Coffee Stain & Friends is expected to list sometime during 2025, according to Embracer.

After investing heavily in acquisitions and organic growth for several years, Embracer last year announced a vast restructuring programme aimed at cutting costs, lowering its net debt “significantly”, and streamlining its business operations. 

That included the closing of studios and cancellation of game projects.

Last month, Embracer announced the sale of Gearbox Entertainment, the developer of the popular first-person shooter franchise “Borderlands”, to US company Take-Two for $460 million.

The group currently owns or controls more than 900 game titles and employs 12,000 people in 40 countries.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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