Embracer sells a big chunk of Saber Interactive in a deal worth around $500 million

Estimated read time 3 min read

As expected, the Embracer Group has sold much of Saber Interactive, which is known for the Metro series, Gloomhaven and remakes of classic Star Wars titles. The buyer is a group of private investors under the umbrella of Beacon Interactive, which is run by Saber co-founder Matthew Karch.

Although Embracer says the deal is worth $247 million, it’s actually worth around $500 million once liabilities are factored in, according to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier. That’s because Beacon is said to have taken up an option to buy 4A Games and Zen Studios (the developers of the Metro and Zen Pinball series, respectively) as well.

As you might imagine given those latter points, the details of the sale are a little convoluted. Along with 4A and Zen, the sale includes all Saber-branded studios, Nimble Giant (Star Trek: Infinite), 3D animation studio Digic, support studio Fractured Byte, PR agency Sandbox Strategies, Mad Head Games (Scars Above), Slipgate Ironworks (Graven), New World Interactive (the Insurgency series) and publisher 3D Realms.

Embracer is hanging onto 34 Big Things (Redout), Shiver (which ported Mortal Kombat 11 to Switch), Snapshot (Phoenix Point) and Aspyr, which is behind the recent remaster of the original Tomb Raider trilogy and Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection, which came out on Thursday. The publisher is also retaining Tripwire (Maneater), Beamdog (Mythforce), Tuxedo Labs (Teardown) and Demiurge (Sega Heroes). Embracer-owned publisher Plaion will keep the long-term license and publishing rights for PC and console games in the Metro series too.

Overall, Beacon is scooping up at least 38 ongoing game development projects, along with some proprietary engine technology and game tools. Saber says it will retain 14 games, including Killing Floor 3. According to reporter Stephen Totilo, Beacon is taking on 2,950 workers and Embracer is retaining 800 (it has 14,140 workers overall).

“Embracer is now able to discontinue all operations in Russia, according to a previous board decision, while safeguarding many developer jobs under new independent ownership,” Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors said. “At the same time, we keep key companies, valuable IPs and future publishing rights.”

Embracer bought Saber for $525 million four years ago and it slotted some later purchases, including Demiurge and New World Interactive, into that division. Since last summer, Embracer has been on a major cost-cutting drive after an expected investment of $2 billion (reportedly from a group backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund) fell apart. The company has shuttered several studios, and it laid off 1,387 people in the second half of 2023. It also canceled 29 unannounced games over a six-month period last year. It’s believed that Gearbox (of Borderlands fame) may be set to leave Embracer too.