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‘Lord of the Rings’ Owner Embracer to Separate Into Three Standalone Publicly Listed Entities 

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Lord of the Rings” owner Embracer is separating the group into three games and entertainment companies: Asmodee Group, Coffee Stain & Friends and Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends.

Asmodee is a tabletop games publisher and distributor with a studio network and IP catalogue. Coffee Stain & Friends is a gaming entity with a dual focus on indie and A/AA premium and free-to-play games for PC/console and mobile. Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends is known for its AAA game development and publishing for PC and console, as well as managing the “The Lord of the Rings” and “Tomb Raider” IPs. AAA is the term used to classify video games produced or distributed by a major publisher, which usually have higher development and marketing budgets than other tiers of games.

The company’s board of directors proposes that shares in two of these entities, Asmodee and Coffee Stain & Friends, will be distributed to the shareholders of Embracer Group, and listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends will remain within the current listed company Embracer Group, which will eventually be renamed at the same time as the Coffee Stain & Friends spinoff.

Shareholders representing more than 50% of the capital and votes in Embracer Group have expressed support for the plan, the company said.

Embracer, a Swedish gaming conglomerate who snapped up the rights to “Lord of the Rings” two years ago, has undergone a severe restructuring program over the past year, which has seen the company shut down or dispose of dozens of games studios and titles and lay off hundreds of staff, resulting in aftershocks that have reverberated throughout the games industry. In a report published in February, the company revealed it had cut 8% of its global workforce.

The largest shareholder, founder and current CEO Lars Wingefors, intends to form a new long-term ownership structure, including the current holdings in Embracer Group (approximately 20% of capital and 40% of votes). Each of the three entities is getting new leadership and Wingefors will “remain a long-term, active, committed and supportive owner of all three entities,” the company said.

“Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends will be developing immersive world-class entertainment IPs, including the iconic ‘Lord of the Rings,’ leveraging in-house AAA capabilities and formidable partnerships,” Wingefors said.

Kicki Wallje-Lund, chair of the Embracer board, added: “This transformation is an important step in unlocking shareholder value. With this new structure, the three entities will be able to focus on executing their core strategies and leveraging their own strengths, providing more differentiated and distinct equity stories to both existing and new shareholders. After careful evaluation of various strategic alternatives, we strongly believe that this decision will benefit all stakeholders and position us for continued success in the future.”