Dark Horse Comics acquired by games giant Embracer

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Embracer Group, the enormous video game holding company, now owns Dark Horse Comics. The deal was made via the acquisition of parent company Dark Horse Media, which in addition to overseeing the comics group, also includes production company Dark Horse Entertainment and the retail chain Things From Another World.

Depending on who you ask, Dark Horse Comics is the fourth or fifth largest comic book publisher in the US, which isn’t really saying much when a massive portion of the pie is taken by Marvel and DC. It does have an illustrious history of publishing quality licensed titles such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Aliens vs Predator, while also playing host to prestigious creator owned work like Frank Miller’s Sin City and Mike Mignola’s Hellboy.

Some don’t recognize Embracer Group by name, but that’s only insofar as it has repeatedly obfuscated its origins. Embracer is the new name of THQ Nordic and even before that THQ was the name they acquired from the assets of a now defunct publisher. During its time as THQ Nordic, the company held a Q&A on 8chan, a known breeding ground for child pornography, a fact largely forgotten since the rebrand into Embracer.

Dark Horse Comics

The acquisition deal gives Embracer Group ownership over all of Dark Horse’s properties, which also include The Mask, Ghost and The Umbrella Academy. Embracer hasn’t specified how much it has spent on the acquisition, but it did say that 80% of shares will be acquired from a seller based in Hong Kong and the remaining 20% will be from founder/CEO Mike Richardson and COO Neil Hankerson.

In the past two years Embracer has made a number of worryingly rapid acquisitions. In 2020, it acquired publisher Saber Interactive for $525 million. Earlier this year, it spent $1.3 billion to acquire Gearbox Software, creators of the Borderlands series and tabletop giant Asmodee for $3.1 billion. In addition to the Dark Horse deal, the company also announced the acquisition of online games publisher Perfect World Entertainment for $125 million.

“I can’t express the excitement I feel as Dark Horse moves into this new chapter in our history,” Richardson said in a press statement. “The synergies that exist with the Embracer network of companies promises exciting new opportunities not only for Dark Horse, but also for the creators and companies we work with. I’ve had a number of compelling conversations with Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors and I’m very impressed with him and what he and his team have built.”

According to Embracer Group, it will remain business as usual after the deal is done and both Richardson and Hankerson will maintain their positions at Dark Horse. Prior to the acquisition, Dark Horse opened its own games publishing division.