Embracer Group Adds Aspyr Media, and Easybrain to Studio Lineup

THQ Nordic's parent company has bought the porting studio for an initial sum of $100 million

Published: February 3, 2021 8:56 AM /


The logo for the Embracer Group

THQ Nordic parent company Embracer Group has acquired another studio and merged with a mobile developer. The group's latest acquisition is porting studio Aspyr Media, which has worked extensively with 2K in the past. The group has also set up a merger with mobile studio Easybrain.

What does Embracer Group acquiring Aspyr Media mean?

According to an official Embracer press release, the group acquired Aspyr Media for an initial sum of $100 million, split 60-40 between cash and new Embracer B shares. There's also potentially another $350 million on the way if "certain conditions" of the purchase agreement are fulfilled. Embracer will place Aspyr under the care of subsidiary Saber Interactive.

Civilization VI, a game ported by Aspyr (newly acquired by the Embracer Group) to Mac OS X
Aspyr Media is best known as a porting studio, having worked on the Mac OS X port of Civilization VI.

Embracer Board director and Saber Interactive CEO Matthew Karch says the studio is a "perfect fit" for Embracer, and that the acquisition will allow the two companies to "greatly expand" their development. Games are already in development as a joint effort between the two companies, and Embracer says it'll reveal more details on those at a later date. The Embracer press release states that Aspyr's current development projects - including a game with an estimated $70 million budget - will "engage more than 200 internal and external developers" with the studio's core team.

What does the Embracer and Easybrain merger mean?

In addition to acquiring Aspyr, the Embracer Group also says it will be merging with Easybrain, a mobile developer best known for casual titles based on Sudoku and other puzzle games. The merger between Embracer and Easybrain is worth a potential $765 million, according to GamesIndustry.biz, with $125 million of that coming as part of performance targets being hit. It's noteworthy that the Easybrain deal looks to be worth over 7 times more than the Aspyr deal. Even if you don't factor in the performance target bonus, it's still more than 6 times the amount the group paid for Aspyr.

Unlike the Aspyr deal, there isn't a cash component to the Easybrain merger. Rather, the money will be paid entirely in Embracer B shares issued incrementally over a 2-year period. At the conclusion of that period, Easybrain's owners will become the third-biggest shareholder in the Embracer Group. According to Embracer, this merger constitutes a "meaningful acceleration" of Embracer's mobile and free-to-play departments. This will be the group's 8th operative division.

Borderlands 3, developed by Gearbox Studio (another studio acquired by Embracer Group recently)
The Aspyr acquisition comes alongside news of Embracer Group acquiring Borderlands 3 developer Gearbox.​​​

This news comes after another high-profile Embracer acquisition: Borderlands developer Gearbox. That deal could potentially exceed $1 billion; an initial $363 million payment will be increased significantly if Gearbox can hit targets set by Embracer. Gearbox will continue to operate independently, so the only difference you're likely to see on a moment-to-moment basis is increased financial clout. We'll bring you more on Embracer Group - including any more potential acquisition sweeps - as soon as we get it.

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