We have given you the news in the past few hours, and it is one of the sensational ones: Embracer has acquired all the rights to the Lord of the Rings. Indeed: also of the Hobbit, the Silmarillion and most of the literary works of the writer JRR Tolkien.
This does not mean that the Swedish company now owns only the literary rights, but much more. In fact, Embracer bought the rights of the Lord of the Rings in the most resounding way possible: by taking over the company that previously held them, namely Middle Earth Enterprises.
And be careful, why the rights in question also concern cinema films, theatrical reductions and so on, from videogames to theme parks to all merchandising on Tolkien’s lucky sagas.
It is estimated that the rights to the works of the British writer, formerly of the Saul Zaentz Company, are worth about two billion dollars (although, as we shall see, the operation seems to have involved a much smaller sum). They will now be managed by a subsidiary of the parent company, Embracer Freemode.
But what is Embracer, the company that bought the rights to the Lord of the Rings, and which has recently been very active on the market?
What is Embracer
Embracer Group AB is a Swedish video game and media holding, founded in 2011 under the name of Nordic Games Licensing.
Although the name of the group is not yet on everyone’s lips, the company has recently made important acquisitions. Let’s find out which ones.
Embracer did not stand out only for purchasing the rights to The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien’s other works.
In the gaming sector, the Swedish company has recently incorporated Deep Silver, THQ Nordic, 3D Realms, Gearbox, Ghost Ship Games, Saber Interactive, Koch Media. In addition to having paraded at Square Enix the brands of Tomb Raider and Deus Ex, Thief, and the studios of Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix Montreal.
We have talked more about the acquisition of Crystal Dynamics (for 300 million dollars) in another article. In which we reported the enthusiastic statement from Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors: “We are thrilled to welcome these studies to the Embracer group. We recognize fantastic intellectual property, world-class creative talent and track record of excellence that has been proven time and time again over the past decades. It has been a great pleasure to meet the leadership teams and discuss future plans on how to realize their ambitions and become an important part of Embracer ”.
Embracer also bought Limited Run Games, a company that produces physical copies of video games in luxury editions, and Tripwire Interactive, another game developer.
Furthermore, the well-known comic book publisher Dark Horse Comics and the famous Asmodee also joined the Embracer group, one of the largest global producers of board and role-playing games. Asmodee who, not surprisingly, recently published an RPG about the Lord of the Rings.
Embracer and the Lord of the Rings
But certainly the most important operation is also the most recent: the acquisition by Embracer of the rights of the Lord of the Rings, of the other works of JRR Tolkien and of all their possible declinations.
As for the purchase figure, the company said it had committed about 770 million dollars. That is a sum much lower than the aforementioned 2 million dollars, equivalent to the estimate of the rightsand what the previous owners, the Saul Zaentz Company, wanted to ask last February.
If the final figure of the operation were confirmed, it would be decidedly contained. Suffice it to consider, as Repubblica writes, that Amazon spent about 250 million dollars for the realization of The Rings of Power, a series inspired by Silmarillion, alone. Which, however, were collected by Tolkien Estate, the foundation he curates the interests of the writer’s heirs. The reason? The rights would go to Zaentz only for serial series with more than 8 episodes.
Embracer’s CEO expressed his happiness with the operation. Lars Wingefors said: “I am very excited to have The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, one of the most epic fantasy franchises in the world, in the Embracer family, opening up more transmedia opportunities, synergies in our global group. I am excited to see what there will be in the future with Freemode and Asmodee as a start within the group ”.
And Marty Glick, COO of Zaentz, added: “We at Zaentz Company have had the honor for the last half century of managing Tolkien’s rights so that Lord of the Rings and Hobbits fans around the world could enjoy. Award-winning epic movies, thrilling video games, world-class theater and merchandising of every variety. We couldn’t be more excited that Embracer is now taking responsibility and we are confident that their group will take it to new heights and dimensions, while respecting the spirit of these great literary works. ”