'Borderlands' developer Gearbox is merging with publishing giant Embracer

Embracer is also buying the game port experts at Aspyr.

Some of the larger independents in the video game world now have a shared home. Embracer Group (aka THQ Nordic) is merging with Gearbox Software, turning the Borderlands studio into a seventh operating group that will serve as a wholly-owned subsidiary. Gearbox founder Randy Pitchford will continue to run his company. The purchase was worth about $363 million on “day one.”

Embracer wasn’t shy about its reasoning for the deal. This not only gives Embracer a developer with a history of “long-lasting” franchises and publishing, but could serve as a springboard for more acquisitions and collaborations in North America. For Gearbox, the incentives are clear — this acts a “propellent” for the company’s future, according to Pitchford.

This isn’t the only big deal. Embracer has also acquired Aspyr Media, best known for porting games to the Mac (including Borderlands) and consoles as well as its publishing work. The $100 million deal puts Aspyr under Saber Interactive and should help Aspyr snap up more licenses while taking advantage of Saber’s existing portfolio of licensed game properties. In other words, Embracer sees Aspyr as a gateway — particularly when it’s expanding its horizons with an unnamed $70 million “game development project.”

The combined deals could make Embracer more of a force in the gaming world. While it certainly has some well-known titles under its belt, including the Metro series, Dead by Daylight and even Goat Simulator, it isn’t a powerhouse on the level of Activision, EA or Ubisoft. Gearbox and Aspyr help Embracer get closer to that goal, especially if they enable future acquisitions.