Lord of the Rings and Hobbit rights snapped up by Embracer in game buying spree

Embracer Group has embarked on an acquisition spree today that includes Limited Run Games, Tripwire Interactive, and the IP rights to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. There are five acquisitions in total today, alongside a sixth undisclosed deal for a company in the PC and console gaming space.

The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit rights mean Embracer now has control over movies, video games, board games, merchandising, stage productions, and even theme-park rights for the Tolkien fantasy franchises. This includes Amazon’s very big and expensive take on Lord of the Rings that will debut on Prime Video on September 2nd. Embracer notes that it could even explore “additional movies based on iconic characters such as Gandalf, Aragorn, Gollum, Galadriel, Eowyn and other characters from the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien.”

Embracer is a huge publishing group that recently acquired big names like Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Thief, and already operates more than 100 studios including Borderlands developer Gearbox, Saber Interactive, and THQ Nordic. Saudi Arabia recently bought a $1 billion stake in Embracer, around 8 percent of the company’s shares.

Embracer’s addition of Limited Run Games opens the door to more physical games across its studios and games, as Limited Run is well known for collector’s editions and it often enables smaller developers to be able to create physical copies of their games. Tripwire is known for Killing Floor, Maneater, and Rising Storm. The huge publishing group also announced today the acquisition of home karaoke system Singtrix and Teardown developer Tuxedo Labs.

Embracer has been quietly building its giant publishing group, and it also owns comics and entertainment brand Dark Horse. “I am pleased to welcome an amazing group of entrepreneur-led companies to the Embracer family and to extend our portfolio with some truly remarkable IPs and franchises, including The Lord of the Rings,” says Embracer co-founder and CEO Lars Wingefors in a statement. “It is encouraging that our group has become a natural and preferred buyer of creative, growing and profitable companies within Gaming and Entertainment.”

The five acquisitions announced today are around $577 million in total upfront costs, and there’s even a sixth secret purchase that Embracer isn’t disclosing yet. “Embracer has entered into agreement to acquire another company within PC / console gaming that, for commercial reasons, is not disclosed today,” explains a financial filing. “The purchase price for this un-disclosed acquisition is in the range of being among either third or fourth largest of the transactions.”

Embracer’s buying spree comes months after its deal to acquire Square Enix’s three major Western game studios, and amid huge acquisitions across the gaming industry. Sony acquired Destiny developer Bungie for $3.6 billion, and Take-Two spent $12.7 billion on FarmVille maker Zynga. Microsoft is also in the process of its giant Activision Blizzard acquisition for $68.7 billion.