Dark Horse Media, an independent comics publishing house and entertainment media company, has been acquired by the Embracer Group, a Swedish video game development company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Embracer is directed by cofounder and group CEO Lars Wingefors. The group’s purchase includes the acquisition of an 80% stake in Dark Horse from a “seller based in Hong Kong and China”—which appears to be Vanguard Visionary Associates, the Chinese media production company that took an investment stake in DH in 2018—and a remaining 20% share owned by Dark Horse founder, CEO, and publisher Mike Richardson and Dark Horse COO Neil Hankerson.
Both Richardson, who founded Dark Horse in 1986, and Hankerson will remain with the company, and will continue to direct Dark Horse operations under its current management structure. According to Embracer, there are no plans for layoffs or a restructuring of the comics house.
Dark Horse Media owns or controls more than 300 properties by such well-known comics creators and authors as Yoshitaka Amano, Margaret Atwood, Geof Darrow, Will Eisner, Neil Gaiman, Dave Gibbons, Faith Erin Hicks, Kazuo Koike, Jeff Lemire, Mike Mignola, Frank Miller, Moebius, Chuck Palahniuk, and Gerard Way.
The acquisition, Embracer said, will strengthen the game developer’s content production, adding DH expertise in comics development and publishing and in film and TV development. (DH has produced projects for Amazon, Netflix, Syfy Network, WarnerMedia, and others platforms.) Additionally, “there is untapped potential in creating games based on Dark Horse IP and substantial opportunity for synergies within the Embracer group, both within the Dark Horse Comics and Dark Horse Entertainment,” the company said in a release.
Dark Horse Media is comprised of Dark Horse Comics, its core business and a major independent publisher of comics periodicals and graphic novels; Dark Horse Entertainment, a movie production house that has produced more than 40 films; and Things from Another World, a retail division featuring three locations specializing in a wide range of graphic novels and pop culture products and merchandise. Dark Horse has about 181 employees across the three business units. The publisher is based in Milwaukie, Ore., and keeps offices in Los Angeles.
According to the terms of the acquisition, Dark Horse Media will become the 10th operations group of the Embracer Group, which is based in Karstad, Sweden. Embracer has a catalogue of more than 250 gaming properties, among them Borderlands, Darksiders, Saints Row, and World War Z. The company has more than 9,000 employees in more than 40 countries.
“I can’t express the excitement I feel as Dark Horse moves into this new chapter in our history,” Richardson, who is also a comics writer, said of the acquisition. “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.” He added: “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. I have to say, the future for our company has never looked brighter.”