The Embracer Group, a collection of companies like Gearbox, THQ Nordic and Deep Silver, announced today that they’re in the process of trying to buy Asmodee—perhaps the single biggest name in specialist board gaming—for €2.75 billion (USD$3.1 billion).
Asmodee owns so many of the modern era’s most popular and best-selling board game properties, from Ticket to Ride to Catan to Pandemic to 7 Wonders to Exploding Kittens. They also own Fantasy Flight, masters of licensed properties like Star Wars (X-Wing, Armada, Imperial Assault), Arkham and Lord of the Rings, and also have licenses for stuff like Pokémon, Harry Potter and Disney. So yeah, they’re a very big deal when it comes to board games.
The plan, at least as spelled out in the purchase announcement, is to buy Asmodee then just leave it be. Asmodee’s current CEO and management team would stay on, and the expectation is that the company, “would continue to operate as before the transaction with no reorganization expected driven by the transaction.”
It’s certainly an interesting time to be getting into board games. While Embracer have been lured in by Asmodee’s profits, this has also been a challenging time for the industry; the pandemic has hit board games hard, and the resultant spikes in shipping container pricing is still making things tough nearly two years later.
During this time, Asmodee laid off a whole bunch of Fantasy Flight employees, shut down Fantasy Flight’s video game studio, and are now renowned in the space as having some of the worst customer service imaginable. All of which sucks, but then so long as the profits keep coming in and attract a big sale like this, who cares, right?
If the purchase ends up being approved by everyone involved, then Embracer say, “the transaction would be expected to close the first half of the calendar year 2022.”