Sweden-based videogame company Embracer Group AB has entered into an agreement to acquire publisher and entertainment company Dark Horse Media, the companies announced. The announcement comes just days after Embracer announced that it is acquiring game publisher, distributor, and retailer Asmodee Group for over $3 billion (see “The Price for Asmodee”). Dark Horse had hired an investment bank to evaluate alternatives (see “Dark Horse Hires Investment Bank”).
After the acquisition, Dark Horse will function as the tenth operating group of Embracer Group, with current management, including CEO Mike Richardson and COO Neil Hankerson, continuing to run the company. No restructuring is planned, according to the announcement.
Embracer will acquire 80% of the shares of Dark Horse from China-based Vanguard Visionary Assets, which acquired a majority of Dark Horse in 2018. The other 20% will be acquired from Richardson, who told us after the Vanguard Visionary acquisition that he retained a “large chunk” of ownership (see “Richardson Retains Large Chunk”), and Hankerson.
The announcement revealed that Dark Horse expects to generate SEK 900 million, or around $99 million at today’s exchange rate, in 2021, with earnings before interest and taxes of SEK 130 million, or around $14 million. Earnings are expected to grow to around $22 million by Embracer’s fiscal year 23/24.
“The synergies that exist with the Embracer network of companies promises exciting new opportunities not only for Dark Horse, but also for the creators and companies we work with,” Richardson said of the deal. “I’ve had a number of compelling conversations with Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors and I’m very impressed with him and what he and his team have built.”
Embracer sees synergies with its current business in the acquisition. “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-fertilize IP and strengthen licensing partnerships across PC, console, VR and mobile,” the company said in the announcement.
Dark Horse announced its own gaming and digital division earlier this year (see “Dark Horse Announces Gaming Division”).