Embracer exits russia, selling Ukrainian studios Fractured Byte and, likely, 4A Games to russians

Swedish video game holding company Embracer Group has announced today that it is exiting the russian market and selling its “daughter” Saber Interactive for $247 million. The Ukrainian game developer Fractured Byte will be transferred to a buyer with russian roots. And, most likely, this also concerns the Ukrainian studio 4A Games, the creators of the Metro game series.

Why and to whom Embracer Group sells Saber Interactive 

Embracer Group wrote that the agreement for the sale of Saber Interactive was concluded today, March 14. Thanks to it, the Swedish holding will stop its activities in russia, as was decided the day before at the board of directors. Beacon Interactive, controlled by Saber Interactive co-founder Matthew Karch, is the buyer. In a matter, Saber Interactive acquired itself.

The deal should improve cash flow, reduce capital investment, net debt, and future liabilities for Embracer. The assets sold include 38 ongoing game development projects valued at approximately SEK 2.3 billion, which is approximately $224,548,000, as well as some proprietary engine technology and gamedev tools.

Studios Nimble Giant, DIGIC, Mad Head Games, New World Interactive, 3D Realms, Slipgate, and Ukrainian Fractured Byte (Brothers: a tale of two sons) will also be transferred to companies with russian roots.

Screenshot: Embrace announcement

Embracer have left 14 games in the portfolio. This also concerns the Ukrainian 4A Games (Metro), which was acquired by Saber in 2020. However, the buyer, Beacon Interactive has been given an option to buy it back, as well as Hungary’s Zen Studios for a fixed price over a “certain period of time,” according to a published statement. But the parties agreed not to disclose the amount and time period for the purchase.

Ukrainian game developers will still become part of the company with russian roots

Fractured Byte will definitely be taken over by Beacon Interactive. The same fate will most likely await 4A Games: Bloomberg journalist Jason Schreier wrote on X that Embracer’s announcement of the deal is “a little misleading.” After all, Saber is actually bringing along 4A Games and Zen Studios through options, which (combined with liabilities) amounts to a purchase price of around $500 million. He also added to the thread a screenshot of the letter from director Matthew Karch to employees, which confirms the decision to acquire these companies.

Saber Interactive is an American company headquartered in Florida, USA. It was founded by Andrei Yones, Matthew Karch and Anton Krupkin in St. Petersburg in 2001. Since 2016, they have opened their first studios outside of russia — in Spain, Sweden and Belarus. In February 2020, the company was acquired by Embracer Group in a deal worth $525 million. And in August 2020, Saber Interactive acquired Ukrainian 4A Games for $35 million.

Neither Fractured Byte nor 4A Games have yet responded to this officially.