Embracer Group, which acquired Asmodee Group and Dark Horse earlier this year, has acquired Middle-earth Enterprises, which owns the intellectual property rights related to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit novels, from The Saul Zaentz Company, the companies announced.  This gives Embracer Group control of movies, video games, board games, merchandising, theme parks and stage productions related to the core works, and matching rights in other Middle-earth-related literary works authorized by the Tolkien Estate and HarperCollins.  Print publication rights remain with the estate and HarperCollins.

The Saul Zaentz Company began a sale process for the rights earlier this year, with anticipation that the price might reach as much as $2 billion (see "LOTR Rights for Sale").  The price for this transaction was not disclosed.

Middle-earth Enterprises will continue to operate independently with its existing leadership team, now as part of Embracer Group’s newly formed Embracer Freemode operating group.

The Saul Zaentz company had first acquired the rights in 1976, with the Peter Jackson trilogies the high point of its licenses.  Now a new phase is beginning with the launch of the big budget The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power live action series on Amazon’s Prime Video (see "LOTR: Rings of Power’ Teaser"), and the planned release of the animated feature The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim in 2024 (see "Geek Movie Calendar – 2024").

Asmodee Group had been a successful licensee of the rights, producing over a dozen games with over 100 expansions in the past 20 years.  Future plans include both further use of the rights by Embracer Group companies, and external licenses, Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors said in a statement accompanying the announcement.