Swedish gaming publisher and media company Embracer Group has entered an agreement to acquire Middle Earth Enterprises, owner of the rights of the Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit, as well as other literary works by J.R.R Tolkien.
This acquisition will allow Embracer to adapt these IP’s into movies, games, merchandise Etc. However the IP will continue to be the property of the Tolkien estate. The rights to produce material based off of Tolkien IP is owned by Middle Earth Enterprises, which is owned by The Saul Zaentz Company. Embracer plans to purchase Middle Earth from Saul Zaentz and have ownership of the IP rights.
Executives from Embracer and The Saul Zaentz Company spoke of the acquisition:
“I am truly excited to have The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, one of the world’s most epic fantasy franchises join the Embracer family, opening up more transmedia opportunities including synergies across our global group. I am thrilled to see what lies in the future for this IP with Freemode and Asmodee as a start within the group. Going forward, we also look forward to collaborating with both existing and new external licensees of our increasingly stronger IP portfolio,” says Lars Wingefors, Founder and Group CEO Embracer Group.
“We at the Zaentz Company have had the honor over the past half century of stewarding the Tolkien rights so that Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans worldwide could enjoy award winning epic films, challenging video games, first rate theatre and merchandise of every variety. We could not be more thrilled that it is Embracer now taking up the responsibility and we are confident their group will take it to new heights and dimensions while maintaining homage to the spirit of these great literary works,“ says Marty Glick, COO of The Saul Zaentz Company.
While it may not be a household name like EA or Activision, Embracer is one of the largest video game companies in the world, with 120 studios under its belt and ownership of over 800 IPs. Formerly known as Nordic Games, the company has pursued aggressive acquisitions of multiple video game studios over the years.The publisher today also announced the intent to acquire multiple video game studios and technology companies, including:
This time last year, Embracer Group acquired an additional 8 studios. Square Enix recently sold Crystal Dynamics Square Enix Montreal and Eidos Montreal to Embracer, giving them ownership of IP’s such as Deus Ex, Tomb Raider, and Legacy of Kain. Crystal Dynamics is also assisting the development of The Initiatives Perfect Dark.
Embracer will manage the Tolkien properties through an operating group called ‘Freemode’, whose mission will be to provide “a global strategic, operational, and financial support ecosystem for its collective of small to mid-sized companies to achieve operational efficiency and effectively grow their businesses to fulfil their long-term goals. In addition, Freemode will expand its operating activities in the retro, classic, and heritage gaming category, as well as investing in iconic gaming & entertainment properties.”
This acquisition will not give Embracer exclusive rights to all Tolkien properties. Multiple Lord of The Rings based games and shows are in development from different companies. Including Amazons The Lord Of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Warner Brothers animated film The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, EA’s mobile title The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth, and Daedalic Entertainment’s game The Lord of the Rings: Gollum.
With 120 internal studios, Embracer will have no trouble pushing out Lord of The Rings Based games.
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