Embracer Group splits in the face of huge debt

Embracer Group has announced plans to split into three publicly listed companies as part of its efforts to address its significant debt and streamline its operations.

The decision to divide the company comes after a period of restructuring, during which Embracer Group faced challenges stemming from its aggressive mergers and acquisitions strategy. With debts totaling $1.5 billion, the company initiated layoffs and sold off several studios to alleviate financial pressure. Under the new structure, the three entities will operate independently, each focusing on distinct gaming market segments.

Asmodee Group will emerge as a publicly listed company specializing in tabletop publishing and distribution. With ownership of 23 studios and a portfolio of over 300 IPs, including popular titles like Ticket To Ride and Catan, Asmodee Group aims to consolidate its position in the tabletop game industry.

Coffee Stain & Friends will concentrate on indie and double-A premium and free-to-play titles across PC, console, and mobile platforms. Its portfolio will include companies such as DECA Games, Easy Brain, AMplifier Invest, and THQ Nordic.

Middle-Earth Enterprises & Friends will be a triple-A developer and publisher focusing on PC and console gaming. Retaining rights to well-known IPs like The Lord of the Rings and Tomb Raider, the company will comprise studios such as Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal, and Dark Horse.

Embracer Group itself will undergo a name change to Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends. At the same time, shares of Asmodee Group and Coffee Stain & Friends will be listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and distributed as dividends to Embracer Group shareholders. Asmodee’s listing is expected within 12 months, while Coffee Stain & Friends will be spun off in 2025.

Embracer Group, through Asmodee, has secured a financing agreement worth 10.5 billion kr ($962 million) with JP Morgan, BNP Paribas, SEB, Societe Generale, and Swedbank to assist in repaying debts. Asmodee assets back the loan and will provide opportunities for further M&A activity within the Asmodee Group.

Leadership roles within the newly spun-off companies will see Thomas Koegler appointed as CEO of Asmodee Group, Anton Westbergh leading Coffee Stain & Friends, and Phil Rogers overseeing Middle-Earth Enterprises & Friends. Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors will maintain an active ownership role across all three entities.

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