Embracer, the mega game publisher that’s been snapping up new properties left and right, has made a deal to acquire the intellectual property catalogue and worldwide rights to various JRR Tolkien-related media and merch. To be precise, it will own the rights to “motion pictures, video games, board games, merchandising, theme parks and stage productions” based on the The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit if the deal pushes through. It will also own the rights tied to any future literary work related to LOTR and The Hobbit that’s authorized by the Tolkien Estate.
This isn’t the first Tolkien-related purchase Embracer has made: Back in 2021, it bought the board game publisher Asmodee, which has published over a dozen LOTR board games over the past 20 years. And if the acquisition goes through, Embracer will work with Amazon on The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power series that will start streaming on September 2nd.
In addition to starting the process of acquiring Middle-earth Enterprises — that’s the team that currently owns the IP rights to Tolkien-related merch — Embracer has also announced that it’s purchasing more game studios. The biggest name in its latest list of acquisitions is Tripwire Interactive, which is known for the co-op survival horror Killing Floor and the third-person shark sim Maneater.
Embracer, founded in 2008 by Swedish entrepreneur Lars Wingefors, has been quietly buying up game studios over the past few years. We called it the “biggest games publisher you’ve never heard of,” though it’s recently been gaining recognition as it continues to add more and more developers under its umbrella. Back in May, it entered a deal to acquire several studios with a catalogue of IPs that include “Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief, Legacy of Kain and more than 50 back-catalogue games from Square Enix Holdings.” That deal will cost Embracer $300 million — the company didn’t reveal how much it will pay to acquire the rights to Tolkien-related media.