Take-Two Buys Gearbox For Less Than Half Of What Embracer Paid For It

Take-Two Buys Gearbox For Less Than Half Of What Embracer Paid For It

Gearbox Software, the developer behind the Borderlands franchise, has been sold to Take-Two Interactive in a deal valued at USD$460 million. The deal comes after rumours in September 2023 that embattled parent company Embracer Group was considering selling the developer to “shore up its finances.” You could almost say this is Gearbox Software’s…take two (okay I’m sorry I’m leaving). (Editor’s note: I’m not cutting this so they can see your shame — David).

The acquisition of Gearbox itself is expected to be completed during the first quarter of Take-Two’s 2025 fiscal year, and won’t include certain third-party publishing and other assets that were deemed “non-core” to the business.

It’s worth noting that the USD$460 million deal stands in stark contrast to Embracer Group’s initial acquisition of Gearbox, valued at approximately USD$1.3 billion. That is a loss of USD$840 million in just two years.

Womp womp, as the kids say.

Gearbox and Take-Two Interactive have a long-standing relationship through the Borderlands franchise. 2K (a subsidiary of Take-Two) serves as the publisher for the franchise (as well as partnering with Lionsgate on the upcoming movie).

“Our acquisition of Gearbox is an exciting moment for Take-Two and will strengthen our industry-leading creative talent and portfolio of owned intellectual property, including the iconic Borderlands franchise,” said Strauss Zelnick, Chairman and CEO of Take-Two. President of 2K, David Ismailer, said that Gearbox has “played an integral role in our success,” during the nearly two decades of working together on “every iteration of the Borderlands franchise, and are excited to be in active development on the next installment in the series.” 

Founder and CEO of Gearbox Entertainment Randy Pitchford added that the partnership led to “groundbreaking, record-setting games when we worked together at an arm’s length as partners. I’m incredibly excited about what we can accomplish now we’re fully aligned as one.”

According to the BusinessWire press release, Gearbox currently has six “key interactive entertainment projects in various stages of development,” which include five sequels. Two of these sequels are from the Borderlands and Homeworld franchises. Gearbox will, under the acquisition, operate as a studio within 2K and continue to be led by Pitchford and his management team.

The sale of Gearbox might have saved the studio from a grim fate under struggling Embracer Group, which has come under fire for astronomical amounts of layoffs and studio closures (including closing Saints Row studio Volition after 30 years). However, whether it’s a matter of ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’ — the games industry continues to struggle with job losses and closures — is anyone’s guess.

At the very least, Gearbox’s acquisition by Take-Two Interactive seems like a comfortable fit given almost 20 years of working together to bring fans Borderlands titles. After all of Embracer’s shell game shuffling, Take-Two has scored a company it’s very familiar with for a bargain basement price.

Image: Gearbox Software / Take-Two Interactive

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