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Wednesday, December 22, 2021 

Dark Horse bought out by Swedish video game producer

The Oregonian announced one of the largest indie publishers on the west coast is being sold to a video game manufacturer in Sweden, a move that decidedly suggests they don't care enough or take much pride in maintaining their business independently:
Dark Horse, the Milwaukie-based comic book publisher, said Tuesday it would be sold to the Swedish video game company Embracer Group.

[...] “I’ve had a number of compelling conversations with Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors and I’m very impressed with him and what he and his team have built,” Richardson said in a statement. “I have to say, the future for our company has never looked brighter.”

Richardson and Chief Operating Officer Neil Hankerson owned 20% of the company’s shares, while the rest belonged to a Chinese investor, the companies said. Vanguard Visionary Associates of Hong Kong had acquired a majority stake in Dark Horse in 2018.
Doesn't this suggest DH isn't making much money on their own anymore, so they decided, much like the original TSR Incorporated of Dungeons & Dragons fame, to sell off ownership of their publisher to another business? (In TSR's case, it's Wizards of the Coast.) That a Chinese business has considerable ownership in them now isn't likely to encourage anybody turned off by the country's communism and how they led to the Coronavirus pandemic last year to buy their products.

For now, here's what appears to be the reason Embracer bought ownership of DH:
In all, the companies said Dark Horse had 300 properties to mine across entertainment media, and they said Embracer was interested in the potential for new video games based on some of Dark Horse’s comic series.
So that's why they're buying it out? I get it, this'll make it cheaper to adapt anything they see fit. If they didn't own the company, they'd surely have to pay licensing fees. But for Richardson, it only suggests he has little faith in the business and profession to continue owning it himself. And I wouldn't be shocked if, not only do they shun right-wing writers and their creations, they'll keep doing so long after the impending buyout to boot. The article says Embracer's ownerships operate independently in business terms, so DH will likely keep on with business as usual, no matter how questionable it turns out to be.

So too bad DH won't lead with a more positive example. I know these are tough times we're living in now. But it's still no excuse.

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