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Embracer Warns of More Layoffs Despite Already Letting Go 1,387 Staff

Embattled entertainment company Embracer has warned of further layoffs despite letting go of 1,387 staff since its high-profile restructuring began in June.


Embracer’s total headcount was reduced by 904 during the second quarter of its financial year, then by another 483 in the third quarter. That’s 8% of the group's global workforce. The company has also cancelled 29 unannounced games during the two quarters.

“In a group-wide effort, our companies and studios have had to make difficult decisions, particularly on having to part ways with team members,” Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors said in a prepared statement. “In total, we have reduced our global headcount by 8% of the workforce since the start of the program. The reductions are managed locally on the operative group level with a focus on informing affected employees first, and then carried out with compassion, respect and integrity towards those affected.”

Wingefors went on to say Embracer is in the process of selling off parts of its business, amid rumours
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. Embracer bought Gearbox in February 2021 as part of an acquisition spree that included snapping up Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics, among many other studios. “Processes are in mature stages,” Wingefors said, before warning layoffs at Embracer’s various studios may occur before any sale is completed. “Certain companies might initiate restructuring before any divestment is announced,” he said.

Our overruling principle is to always maximize shareholder value in any given situation.

And then, in a comment already causing controversy within the video game industry across social media, Wingefors said Embracer’s priority is to its shareholders — always. “Our overruling principle is to always maximize shareholder value in any given situation,” Wingefors said. To be clear, all publicly traded companies have a legal obligation to their shareholders, but saying this out loud in this way and in the context of the drastic impact the cuts are having on people's lives has raised eyebrows.

Despite the ongoing restructure, which is set to end in March, Wingefors admitted Embracer is “unlikely” to hit its target of reducing net debt to below SEK 8 billion (approx $762 million) by the end of its financial year. But he said “certain divestments” could “significantly” reduce net debt post March 31, 2024.

Embracer Group’s financial struggles began following the collapse of a $2 billion deal, reportedly with Saudi government funded company
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. The Swedish firm has since come under fire for the sweeping cuts it has already made, including
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.


Last month it emerged
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that was two years in development and laid off 97 staff at developer Eidos Montreal. According to
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, the unannounced third mainline entry in the Deus Ex series was supposed to enter production later this year. However, developer Eidos Montreal will reportedly focus on an original franchise instead. "The global economic context, the challenges of our industry, and the comprehensive restructuring announced by Embracer have finally impacted our studio," said the studio. Elsewhere across Embracer, there were layoffs at Black Forest Games, Lost Boys Interactive, and Nimble Giant Entertainment.

Amid all this, Wingefors said some of the games it released during the third quarter of its financial year hadn’t met expectations, but revealed the recently released
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is “off to a really strong start.”
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, which also launched this week, “is also off to a very strong start, both in terms of critic and a sales performance.” Sci-fi RTS
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was delayed to May.


Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].

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