A Gaming Company Is Buying Lord Of The Rings And The Hobbit

Lord of the RIngs and The Hobbit were just acquired by a massive gaming company, which raises questions about its future.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

lord of the rings

Embracer Group, the parent company for an expanding roster of studios and publishers, has acquired Middle-earth Enterprises from The Saul Zaentz Company. The division owns the catalog and intellectual property rights to motion pictures, merchandising, games, theme parks, and stage productions relating to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. It also owns the rights to other Middle-earth-related literary works authorized by the Tolkien Estate and HarperCollins, which have yet to be explored, The Hollywood Reporter says.

Speaking about the deal in a press release, Embracer Group’s Founder and CEO Lars Wingefors said the company is truly thrilled to have The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, one of the world’s most epic fantasy franchises, join the Embracer family. He added that the acquisition will open up more transmedia opportunities and synergy across their global group. “I am thrilled to see what lies in the future for this IP with Freemode and Asmodee,” he said. Going forward, the Swedish company says it hopes to collaborate with both existing and new external licensees of their increasingly stronger IP portfolio.

Middle-earth Enterprises will now form part of the newly founded operative group, Embracer Freemode. The company will continue to operate independently under the existing Middle-earth Enterprises leadership team, Deadline reports. In a statement, Marty Glick, COO of The Saul Zaentz Company, said he could not be more thrilled that Embracer will take over the responsibility of housing the Tolkien rights so Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans worldwide can continue to enjoy epic movies, challenging video games, and merchandise of every variety.

Additionally, Glick said he’s confident that Embracer will take the franchise to new heights and dimensions while maintaining homage to the spirit of the great literary works. The IP rights to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were just part of the Swedish company’s spending spree. As part of several deals, the firm also acquired Limited Run Games and Tripwire Interactive. There was also a sixth undisclosed deal in the PC and console gaming space. And, after quietly building its giant publishing group, it also owns comics and entertainment brand Dark Horse. Other assets include big names like Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Thief.

Moreover, Embracer already operates more than 100 studios including Borderlands developer Gearbox, Saber Interactive, and THQ Nordic. The five latest acquisitions (which include Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) are valued at around $577 million in upfront costs, explains a financial filing. While the purchase price for the un-disclosed gaming company is in the range of being among the third or fourth-largest transactions. The Karlstad-based firm’s recent splurge comes months after its deal to acquire Square Enix’s three major Western game studios.

It also follows a few huge acquisitions across the entire gaming industry. According to The Verge, Sony recently 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. With so many properties changing homes, it looks like Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are in good hands at the Embracer Group.