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Embracer Group Acquires Dark Horse, Perfect World Entertainment, and More

Embracer Group Acquires Dark Horse

Embracer Group acquires Dark Horse, Perfect World Entertainment, and more big acquisitions alongside their already massive number of subsidiaries, the companies announced.

While Embracer Group acquires Dark Horse, the other companies include the aforementioned Perfect World Entertainment, DIGIC, Shiver Entertainment, and Spotfilm Networx.

Here’s a rundown on each new company acquisition:

Dark Horse

Dark Horse is a leading entertainment company founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson and based on the idea of establishing an ideal atmosphere for creative professionals: where writers and artists were treated as partners. This formula attracted top creative talent, and 30 years later the company has grown to become the third-largest comics publisher in the United States, with a successful track record of producing films and TV series as well.

Through the acquisition, Embracer strengthens its transmedia capabilities by adding expertise in content development, comics publishing, and film & TV production. Dark Horse owns or controls more than 300 intellectual properties, many of which can build a strong foundation for the future development of transmedia IPs and the opportunity to cross-fertilise IP and strengthen licensing partnerships across PC, console, VR and mobile.

Dark Horse is headquartered in Milwaukie, Oregon, USA, has entertainment offices in Los Angeles, California, USA and has 181 employees across its three business units

Dark Horse’s growing library includes over 300 compelling intellectual properties. With a structure and proven ability to produce IP, partner with top creative talent, and create brands and global hits, Dark Horse is in a strong position in a market where entertainment content is in high demand. This proof-point can be seen in Dark Horse’s strong pipeline of over 40 projects at Netflix, Amazon, Syfy, Sony, MGM, Universal, and Warner Media.

Perfect World Entertainment

Upon completion of the transaction, PWE will operate within the Embracer group as a subsidiary of Gearbox Entertainment Company, with a continued focus on publishing and creating games. PWE comprises a team of 237 full time employees, including the team behind the publishing unit. Through the acquisition of PWE, Gearbox Entertainment will onboard PWE Publishing and Cryptic Studios, which will both remain independent within Gearbox Entertainment. This acquisition will strengthen Gearbox Entertainment’s Publishing division.

Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Los Gatos, California, Cryptic Studios is one of the rare handful of studios with experience launching and operating multiple MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) at scale. The studio has a track record of success with three of the last four launches achieving meaningful commercial success. Neverwinter and Star Trek Online continue to be top performing MMOs with highly engaged user bases. Cryptic comprises a team of 136 employees.

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Redwood City, California, PWE Publishing is known for publishing leading PC and console titles based on well-known global entertainment franchises such as the Star Trek and Dungeons & Dragons games by Cryptic Studios. PWE Publishing’s product portfolio also includes the popular Torchlight series, as well as Remnant: From the Ashes, in partnership with Embracer owned development studio Gunfire Games. PWE Publishing comprises at team of 101 employees.

Cryptic Studios currently operates three longstanding MMOs (Neverwinter, Star Trek Online and Champions Online) with a shared life span of 25+ years. These titles generate significant profits, and Embracer expects the live Cryptic titles will continue to be strong and steady for the upcoming years. PWE Publishing has a compelling slate of upcoming games while continuing to evaluate new opportunities. Of the existing slate, PWE’s next launch is planned in 2022 with five additional releases by 2024. In calendar year 2021 the companies are estimated to generate net sales of approximately SEK 700 million. This includes some revenues from discontinued products at Cryptic.

DIGIC

DIGIC, based in Budapest, Hungary, is an animation studio founded in 2002, with a strong track record for creating commercial trailers and cinematics for best-selling game titles.  They also have created award-winning content for shows such as Love, Death and Robots on Netflix. The acquisition of DIGIC also includes DIGIC’s subsidiaries DIGIC Pictures Kft and DIGIC Services Kft.

DIGIC is led by founder Alex Rabb, long-time industry veteran in both the games and cinematic space. Alex worked closely with late DIGIC co-founder Andrew G. Vajna (RamboTerminatorDie Hard) using their experience in Hollywood to bring AAA production values to DIGIC’s operations. Alex Rabb will continue to lead the operations with a long-term commitment to the company and considerable incentive to grow. DIGIC engages close to 400 FTE’s, located in Budapest (plus an additional 40-50 freelance experts). The company has made its mark worldwide with its multi-award-winning 3D animation for the video game industry, feature films and commercials. DIGIC is best known for crafting all its work to an incredibly high-level of detail, with realistic characters and beautiful environments brought to life using world class lightning and rendering. DIGIC’s directors use epic cinematography with film industry storytelling techniques to create visuals.

The acquisition adds a talented team with a strong track record in creating AAA cinematics, trailers and concept art.  Within the Embracer Group, DIGIC will operate as a subsidiary under the Saber Interactive operating group. DIGIC will also contribute to internal projects with Gearbox, THQ Nordic, Coffee Stain and Koch Media and further strengthen Saber Interactive’s work-for-hire business.

Shiver Entertainment

Shiver, based in Florida with headquarters in Miami, is a game development studio founded in 2013, with focus on game development, co-development and porting projects across platforms and genres.

Shiver is led by founders John Schappert and Jason Andersen, both with significant experience from leading positions within the gaming industry. John formerly served as Chief Operating Officer of Electronic Arts and Zynga and ran Xbox Live for Microsoft. He and Jason also founded Tiburon Entertainment which eventually became EA Tiburon – one of the largest and most successful studios in the world. Shiver engages a dedicated team of 17 experienced developers, who have successfully collaborated with leading publishers on popular game projects such as Mortal Kombat. The team also has original game projects in the pipeline for release in the near future. The acquisition adds two highly-respected industry veterans to the Saber operative group, additional development capabilities and most importantly significant business development prowess.

Within Embracer group, Shiver will operate as a subsidiary under the Saber operating group. Schappert will take on significant responsibilities within Saber’s work-for-hire business. The acquisition of Shiver further strengthens Saber’s presence within the U.S.

Spotfilm Networx

Spotfilm Networx is the leading AVOD channel operator in Germany, located in Berlin, Germany. Spotfilm was founded in 2010 by Peter von Ondarza and is headed by managing director Hauk Markus. Spotfilm Networx today comprises 18 full-time employees and eight interns.

Spotfilm Networx operates 20 AVOD channels and two Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) channels, hosting 3,000 videos on YouTube with more than 7 million Unique Visitors, and run their own streaming website Spotfilm Networx and App with more than 4 Million downlowoads.

With its channel Netzkino, Spotfilm Networx contributes one of the most popular ad-supported streaming platforms in Germany. With 4 million users and around 20 million film viewings monthly, Netzkino is already the largest feature film channel in German-speaking countries.

Spotfilm Networx will be a full operating subsidiary under the Koch Media operative group, and will continue its operations out of their current facilities.

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