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18 Aug, 2022 14:09

Gaming giant buys ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ rights

Embracer Group's spending spree saw the firm acquire a number of gaming studios
Gaming giant buys ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ rights

Intellectual Property rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ have been sold to publishing giant Embracer Group, according to a company statement announcing it had entered into a total of five acquisition deals on Thursday as well as a sixth, with a “PC/Console gaming company.”

Embracer Group, which has been buying up almost any video game publisher or studio it can get its hands on, announced the acquisition of Limited Run Games, Tripwire Interactive, Tuxedo Labs, Japanese game studio Tatsujin as well as Middle-earth Enterprises - the company that has owned nearly all the rights to Tolkien’s works since 1976.

Earlier this year, the Saul Zaentz Company, which owned Middle-earth Enterprises announced that it would for the first time offer the rights for $2 billion. However, Embracer’s public statement revealed that it spent only $6 billion Swedish Kronas for all its purchases on Thursday, which is roughly equivalent to $575 million. 

The Purchase of Middle-earth Enterprises means that Embracer now has total control over the movies, video games, board games, merchandising, stage productions and theme-park rights for Tolkien’s universe. The deal also suggests that the publishing giant now has a stake in Amazon’s upcoming “Rings of Power” series, due for release on September 2, as well as Warner Bros animated movie “the War of the Rohirrim” and EA’s “Heroes of Middle-earth” mobile game.

The company says it will use the newly acquired rights to explore “additional movies based on iconic characters such as Gandalf, Aragorn, Gollum, Galadriel, Eowyn and other characters from the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien and continue to provide new opportunities for fans to explore this fictive world through merchandising and other experiences.”

In May Embracer struck a deal with Square Enix and acquired big name titles such as Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief and Legacy of Kain. The company also operates more than 100 game studios including Borderlands developer Gearbox, Saber Interactive, and THQ Nordic and owns the rights to Dark Horse, granting it access to IPs like Hellboy, Sin City, 300 and Umbrella Academy, among others.