Borderlands creator and publishing house Gearbox Entertainment has been snapped up by Swedish holding firm Embracer Group (formerly THQ Nordic AB) for a tidy $1.3 billion, the studio announced yesterday.
Following a spree of acquisitions, this week's buyout sees Gearbox become Embracer's seventh official "operating group" alongside THQ Nordic, Saber Interactive, Koch Media, DECA Games, Amplifier Game Invest, and Coffee Stain Holding. With a minimum buyout price of $363 million (half in cash, half in Embracer shares), the deal may see Gearbox earn over $1.3 billion in total should the studio meet certain financial targets over the next six years.
Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford will remain at the head of a studio Embracer called "arguably one of the most creative and valuable independent developers in the world" following the deal.
"The feeling at Gearbox is that we are just getting started and this transaction is not merely a stimulant for the talent of our employee-owned company, but a propellent for the exciting future we have planned," Pitchford said in a press release.
Embracer has been scooping up developers by the dozen, acquiring 18 studios in a single day last November. Last May, the company announced it had 118 games in development, though that figure has likely skyrocketed since. The biggest game on its slate right now, Biomutant, is now set to arrive on May 25th.
Gearbox has been sitting comfortably since launching Borderlands 3 last year, with that Eli Roth Borderlands movie recently picking up comedian Kevin Hart. Looking forward, the studio's next notable release is in publishing Homeworld 3. Following the acquisition, Embracer hopes to get Gearbox opening new studios to start pushing out new brands and pump more resources into existing IP—which is to say that another Borderlands game is all but a certainty.
In a statement to PC Gamer, Borderlands publisher 2K Games said the Embracer acquisition won't change the company's ability to continue working with Gearbox on both the cel-shaded loot-shooter, nor any future games the developer has in store.
“As the proud publisher of the Borderlands franchise, we are happy for our partners at Gearbox and this exciting new chapter for their organization. The merger does not change 2K’s relationship with Gearbox nor our role as the publisher for the Borderlands IP or any other projects we are currently working on with the studio. We look forward to continuing our long-term partnership with this incredibly talented team and delivering many more exciting entertainment experiences to gaming fans around the world.”
This story has been updated with a statement from 2K Games.
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20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.