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Board game publisher Asmodee up for sale, valued at $3.1B

The tabletop giant could soon join the group that owns Borderlands and Saints Row

Catan, set up for play. Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Asmodee Group, among the largest publishers and distributors of board games in the world, is once again up for sale with a reported price tag of €2.75 billion ($3.1 billion). This time the buyer is Embracer Group, which is already heavily invested in video games. The announcement was made Wednesday in a news release.

Asmodee, which is headquartered in Paris, has been on a buying spree for the better part of a decade. Through various acquisitions, it now owns many of the most popular studios and publishers in the board games industry, including Z-Man Games (Pandemic), Fantasy Flight Games (Descent: Legends of the Dark), Days of Wonder (Ticket to Ride), and Catan Studio (Catan). The organization also includes multiple digital studios, including the recently acquired online platform Board Game Arena.

In “exclusive negotiations” to make the purchase, Embracer is a large conglomerate with eight previously existing business groups involved in producing video games. Its studios include THQ Nordic (Darksiders), Deep Silver (Saints Row), Coffee Stain (Valheim), Saber Interactive (Space Marine 2), and Gearbox Entertainment (Borderlands). An investor call is scheduled for Thursday to discuss the proposed purchase, which appears to be in the final stages of closing.

“Asmodee’s CEO Stéphane Carville together with his management team would continue to lead the new operating group,” Embracer said in its news release. “Asmodee would continue to operate as before the transaction with no reorganization expected driven by the transaction.”

Asmodee most recently changed hands in 2018 when a private equity fund, PAI Partners, purchased the company for $1.4 billion. The increase in value of $1.7 billion reflects not only the growth and value of Asmodee’s acquisitions over that time period, but the growing size and importance of tabletop gaming in the entertainment space. Its performance mirrors that of its largest competitors, Hasbro and Games Workshop, which have both seen major increases in sales over the past few years.

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