Gearbox Has Been Bought

Gearbox Has Been Bought
Image: Gearbox

Gearbox Studios, developers of games like Borderlands and also publishers of stuff like the new Homeworld titles, has been bought by Embracer Group, the same Swedish company that owns THQ Nordic and Koch Media.

The acquisition makes Gearbox the company’s seventh video game holding, alongside other companies like Deca and Saber Interactive.

The purchase includes plans to expand Gearbox’s operations, adding new studios and staff, “create new brands” and go looking for more properties (like Homeworld) to buy.

Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford issued a statement, opening with mention of Embracer’s CEO Lars Wingefors, which reads:

Lars’s vision of Embracer as an allied partner group committed to fuelling and accelerating the ambitions of a series of decentralized, successful entrepreneurial companies while magnifying the collective value and advantages of diversification across the entire group is the most brilliant strategy and design for short, medium, and long-term success in this industry that I have ever encountered in my 30 years in this industry. 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.

Gearbox is behind other hits like the Brothers in Arms series, and there’s a Borderlands movie currently being made, which no doubt contributed to Embracer’s interest. No word on whether the sale was equally influenced by Aliens: Colonial Marines and Duke Nukem Forever, though, or the fact that Gearbox’s Battleborn shut down for good this week.

The initial purchase price was $US363 million, half in cash and half in Embracer shares, with a further $US1 billion to be paid ($US360 million shares and the rest in cash) if Gearbox are able to hit “agreed financial and operational targets in the next six years”.


    • It’s an acquisition, but typically these kind of transactions are described as mergers. Gearbox becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Embracer, and the owners of Gearbox receive cash and Embracer shares as payment for selling the whole Gearbox business to Embracer. I wonder what will happen to Randy.

      • For Randy, he sounds polite about it… so its either stock options which could give him a board seat or its a “earn out” which sees him locked in an performance contract afixed to a golden parachute.

    • Its a $1.3 billion dollar merger according to the news.

      CEO Randy Pitchford will continue to lead the company, which will still operate as an independent studio. Gearbox staff will be given share options in embracer as part of the merger.

  • So they are no longer bound to 2k games/ Take2 interactive? i never would have though that Take2 Interactive would ever want to sell off their second biggest assest (their first being Rockstar)

    • I didn’t think Take Two ever had an ownership stake in Gearbox: they just acted as publisher for a number of their games.

      Even if they did have a small ownership stake, companies often have bylaws that can force a merger once a certain threshold of shareholders agree to the deal.

        • Nope, but it certainly was not the 2nd coming many claim it to be. This is not being contrarian, I think you will find a lot of players were not that taken with it. The 2016 Doom was much better.

          But Doom aside, Duke Nukem needs to die and be forgotten. As a teenage boy when the originals came out, it was kind of humorous. But we were dumb, immature morons back then. I wish I could beat up teenage me, especially for the long, black dyed hair and earrings. Anyway, back on point, Duke has no reason for existence in this day and age. Nothing wrong with some immature humour and titillation, but Duke will never break its crap 90s roots.

  • Stage an unfortunate smelting accident with Pitchford and the internet will rejoice. Especially after the creepy shit that was meant to be on that USB stick…

    • There was the USB stick.
      There was alleged embezzlement of SEGA’s money during the making of Alien: Colonial Marines (alleged by a SEGA employee, denied by Pitchford.)
      There was selling Duke Nukem Forever with a straight face.
      There was denying his employees a bonus despite the success of Borderlands 3 while at the same time reaching a deal with Take Two to get a nice personal bonus of $12 million.
      There was the removal of the best Duke Nukem port (Megaton edition) and then releasing a worst port (albeit with a new episode).
      There is the utter squandering of the Duke Nukem franchise since.

      The man is a piece of shit.

      • Give it another couple of years and I’m sure the list will have doubled in length. Getting rid of him is a massive reduction in liability and expenses alone with all of the scandals and bad will towards him.

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