Gearbox Software could have been the first major acquisition of Microsoft in 2021 to land the Borderlands franchise with Xbox Game Studios from here on.
Taking to Twitter earlier today, games journalist and author Brad Sams updated that Microsoft was actually in the running to acquire Gearbox Software. However, an agreement could not be reached between the parties involved.
Microsoft backed out for reasons unknown which allowed the Embracer Group to finalize a merger. Gearbox has agreed to a deal up to $1.3 billion to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Embracer which also serves as a parent company of THQ Nordic as well as Koch Media and Saber Interactive.
Gearbox was one of the company's that inspired the original tweet, i believe Microsoft looked at Gearbox but clearly didn't complete the deal.https://t.co/L06i6pmPBu
— Brad Sams (@bdsams) February 3, 2021
It can only be assumed that Microsoft and Gearbox could not agree on the acquisition amount. Embracer is not paying $1.3 billion upfront. Only $363 million will be paid in advance. The remaining sum will be dependent on how much Gearbox makes in the next six years. If everything works out, Embracer will be paying up to $1.3 billion by the end of the said period. Microsoft must have perhaps been more rigid on that outlook.
This was the second time Microsoft has shown interest in acquiring Gearbox Software. The Borderlands maker was once in a position to helm Halo 4 and hence take up the Master Chief mantle more than a decade ago. Microsoft instead decided to form 343 Industries back then and the internal studio has since then been religiously focused on the Halo franchise.
Elsewhere, Gearbox will continue to cooperate with 2K Games over the Borderlands franchise despite being acquired by Embracer. “Certain rights for exploitation” have been put in place between all parties concerned but which remain to be shared with the public.