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Take-Two is buying Gearbox from Embracer for $460 million

Meanwhile, Sega has sold one of its studios and is laying off around 240 people.

Gearbox Entertainment

More major changes are afoot on the business side of the video game world, as a notable name is changing hands once again. Take-Two Interactive (the parent company of Grand Theft Auto publisher Rockstar and others) has agreed to buy Gearbox Entertainment from the embattled Embracer Group. The deal is worth $460 million in stock and is expected to close by June 30. It had been rumored for several months that Embracer was planning to sell off Gearbox.

Take-Two is acquiring three studios: Gearbox Software, Gearbox Montréal and Gearbox Studio Quebec. It will fully own the Borderlands, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, Homeworld, Risk of Rain, Brothers in Arms and Duke Nukem franchises, along with “Gearbox’s future pipeline.” Gearbox will operate under the umbrella of 2K, which already publishes Borderlands and Tiny Tina games. Gearbox founder and CEO Randy Pitchford will remain at the helm.

Embracer is hanging onto Gearbox Publishing San Francisco, which will be renamed. That holds the publishing rights for the Remnant series, Hyper Light Breaker and unannounced games. Embracer will also keep Cryptic Studios (Neverwinter Online and Star Trek Online), Lost Boys Interactive and Captured Dimensions.

Take-Two notes that Gearbox has “six key interactive entertainment projects in various stages of development.” Those include five sequels, among them Homeworld 3 and the next Borderlands game.

Embracer bought Gearbox in 2021 for an initial $363 million. If Gearbox met certain targets, the deal would have been worth just over an extra $1 billion over six years.

Since it bought Gearbox, Embracer has gone through rough times. Last year, it announced a major restructuring after a $2 billion investment deal (said to be from a group backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund) fell apart. Since then, Embracer has has closed several studios and sold off others. It laid off 1,387 people in the second half of last year and canceled 29 unannounced games over a six-month period in 2023.

Elsewhere in the business of video games, Sega has sold Relic Entertainment (Warhammer 40,000 and Company of Heroes), which is now an independent studio thanks to the help of a mystery investor. Sega is also cutting around 240 jobs in Europe, adding to the extensive video game layoffs so far this year. Sega Europe, Creative Assembly (Total War) and Hardlight Studios (Two Point Hospital) are said to have been impacted.