The Embacer Group has scored another coup: it has reached an agreement with The Saul Zaentz Company to buy the rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The Swedish company is once again making waves. After all, it belongs with that Asmodee-Group is already a strong rights exploiter in the company's portfolio.
Behind the acquisitions of the Embracer Group there seems to be a plan that is likely to go beyond pure company acquisitions. With the intention to buy the rights to the brands The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, there could be a huge boost in crossover projects. Previously, Embracer had struck at Asmodee or Dark Horse Comics, among others, as well as in the video game sector.
Strong brands under one roof
Now the Embracer Group has caused the next big bang at an investor conference: According to this, the takeover of Middle-earth Enterprises is imminent - shortly before, as it was said. The Swedish group could thus directly access the rights for the implementation of titles for The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit - and because of the company's portfolio across all divisions. Parlor games, films, video games, toys – Embracer could then handle almost all segments “in-house”. The "Silmarillion" is also part of the package. However, the publishing rights of the books remain with the US publishing giant "HarperCollins". Overall, the situation surrounding fantasy licenses is complicated, even confusing.
Should Embracer Group and Saul Zaentz Company successfully close the deal, fans could be in for a rush of new The Lord Of The Rings adaptations. After all, with such a costly takeover, extensive use of the brand would be a kind of economic obligation. Numbers were not mentioned, but previously around two billion US dollars were mentioned for the use of the LotR license. It's a genuine mega deal if the corporations can pull off the sale.
In any case, Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors is once again delighted: "I am delighted that The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, one of the most epic fantasy franchises in the world, is joining the Embracer family." This would open up "more transmedia opportunities, including synergies across our global group," Wingefors said. The latter in particular seems to be central to the project. Asmodee has already been covering a gigantic segment with the license for The Lord of the Rings for decades. New content for the app-supported The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth was recently announced. Previously, the content for beginners for the "Living card game" was completely re-rolled on the basis of the brand.
It would then be questionable what would happen to the exploitation of licenses in the area of board games by other, competing publishers. Currently uses, among other things Kosmos the brand to be able to bring games based on The Lord of the Rings onto the market. After all: As with the previous acquisitions, Middle-earth Enterprises is intended to operate as an independent company in this case - presumably also granting licenses to “third-party companies” in order to generate sales.
"For the future, we also look forward to working with existing and new external licensees of our ever-growing IP portfolio," says the Embracer CEO.
The COO of the Saul Zaentz Company, Marty Glick, also sees the deal as over, at least linguistically: "We couldn't be more excited that Embracer is now taking responsibility," said a statement. We are confident that "their group will take them to new heights and dimensions while paying homage to the spirit of these great works of literature."
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