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Square Enix sells Tomb Raider, other big franchises, for less than 1% of what Microsoft paid for Activision

May 2, 2022, 3:22 PM UTC

Lara Croft is on the move.

Embracer Group, a video game publisher, has agreed to purchase a handful of studios from publisher Square Enix, making up the majority of the Japan-based studio’s Western operations. The deal will put Embracer in control of familiar franchises that include Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief and Legacy of Kain.

The price tag for Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montreal, Square Enix Montreal, and the catalogue of intellectual properties was a surprisingly low $300 million. That’s less than one-half of one percent of the $69 billion Microsoft is paying for Activision-Blizzard. And far less than the $3.6 billion Sony agreed to pay for Bungie, creator of the Halo franchise.

The deal will impact roughly 1,100 employees and is expected to close before September.

While Microsoft has been gobbling up development studios and franchises for the past several years as part of its Netflix-like strategy for video game development, Embracer has been a quiet competitor, cherry picking notable individual game development studios, including Borderlands creator Gearbox Entertainment and Saber Interactive, creator of World War Z and WWE 2K Battlegrounds.

In the past 24 months, Embracer has announced nearly 30 takeovers. In the process, the relatively unknown Swedish company has quietly become Europe’s most valuable video game creator.

Tomb Raider and the other franchises Embracer will acquire as part of this deal haven’t topped the sales charts for several years, but still have tremendous value. Critics have pointed out that Square Enix’s management of the studios has been lacking, as the company focused more on its own legacy titles, such as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts.

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