Nexon to fully acquire Embark Studios within five years

Former EA exec, Patrick Soderlund, founded the studio last year with Nexon as its only investor. The latest investment bolsters Nexon's shares to just under 73%.

Japanese publisher Nexon has announced a plan to fully acquire Swedish developer Embark Studios over the next five years. The transaction, which is expected to be ratified at Nexon’s shareholder meeting in September, will begin with the publisher increasing its existing stake in Embark from 66.1% to 72.8%.

“We are very excited about the value and potential that Nexon’s acquisition of Embark unlocks,” Owen Mahoney, CEO of Nexon said in a statement. “Bringing Embark fully into the Nexon family will tightly integrate Nexon's expertise in live operations and Embark's capability of creating hit games that resonate globally to powerfully drive and accelerate delivering players great games designed to live on for years.”

Since its inception in November of 2018, Embark, helmed by ex-EA executive Patrick Söderlund, has operated almost solely on the investment of Nexon. In July, Embark became a full-blown subsidiary of Nexon, which seems to point to a fertile business relationship between the two companies.

“Embark Studios is at the heart of Nexon’s ambition to create ground-breaking online game experiences that are successful on a global scale, especially outside Nexon's core Asian markets. It’s a big challenge, and one I’m itching to work on, to the very best of my ability,” Söderlund said in a statement. "At Embark, we’re in the midst of developing new technologies, new development methodologies and a new attitude to game development, that will help influence and reshape Nexon’s game development in the years to come.” 

By fully acquiring Embark, Nexon is looking to make waves in Western game development. According to a press release, Nexon’s Western development efforts will driven by Embark in Stockholm, ensuring a “sharp focus on Nexon’s products developed in North America and Europe.” Embark will certainly have a lot on its plate moving forward. Between its new role as the steward of Nexon’s Western efforts and its unannounced multiplayer game, the developer has its hands full.

With the acquisition of Embark, Nexon joins a wave of Asian publishers looking to expand westward. In May, Chinese tech giant Tencent announced the acquisition of Sharkmob, furthering growing its foothold in the western market, and NetEase, also based in China, expanded into Canada in July with the opening of a Montréal, Québec studio. These moves could also be motivated in part by China’s notoriously fickle game approval process.

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Sam has been freelancing since 2016, and has bylines at IGN, PCGamesN, PCGamer, and Unwinnable. When not writing about games, he is most likely taking care of his two dogs or pretending to know a lot about artisan coffee. Get in touch with Sam by emailing him at sdesatoff@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter.

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