Less than two weeks after the surprise closure of Saints Row studio Volition, a Reuters report says Embracer Group is now looking to rid itself of Borderlands studio Gearbox Entertainment—not through a shutdown this time, but a sale.
Three anonymous sources told Reuters that unnamed third parties have expressed interest in Gearbox. Nothing is carved in stone at this point, but the report says Embracer is now working with investment banks Goldman Sachs and Aream & Co. to "explore" the possibility of a sale.
Embracer acquired Gearbox Entertainment in 2021 in a deal that was worth up to $1.3 billion. It was a highlight of a rapid-fire spending spree that saw Embracer scoop up Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal, Square Enix Montreal, Tripwire Interactive, Saber Interactive, Koch Media (now known as Plaion), and a whole bunch of others.
But that seemingly unstoppable growth came to a very sudden halt in May, when a previously unannounced "groundbreaking strategic partnership" worth more than $2 billion fell through at the last minute. Less than a month later, Embracer announced a "comprehensive" restructuring of the company that would include the cancellation of in-development games, studio closures and sales, and of course layoffs.
On August 31—just two months after celebrating the studio's 30 years of operation—Embracer closed Volition "as part of that program." A sale of Gearbox, which would provide a cash infusion and presumably relieve Embracer of its future performance-based financial obligations tied to the acquisition of Gearbox, would also seem to fit the goals of that program: Essentially to help Embracer find more stable financial footing without the massive investment it had been counting on.
A separate Bloomberg report said an email about the possibility of a sale had been sent to Gearbox staff earlier today. Gearbox Chief Communications Officer Dan Hewitt told the site that "the base case" is that Gearbox will remain a part of Embracer, but that "there are many options under consideration, including Gearbox’s transfer, taking Gearbox independent, and others."
I've reached out to Embracer for more information and will update if I receive a reply.