Lord of the Rings, Hobbit Rights Acquired by Embracer


Embracer Group has entered into an agreement to acquire Middle-earth Enterprises, a division of The Saul Zaentz Company that owns, among other IPs, the rights related to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Middle-earth Enterprises holds a vast intellectual property catalog and worldwide rights to motion pictures, video games, board games, merchandising, theme parks and stage productions relating to the two iconic fantasy literary works of Tolkien.

It also holds matching rights in other Middle-earth-related literary works authorized by the Tolkien Estate and HarperCollins that have yet to be explored.

Embracer’s operative group Asmodee Group is already one of the most successful licensees of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit through board games and card games, having published over a dozen games with over 100 expansions since the release of The Lord of the Rings board game over 20 years ago.

Key upcoming works set in Middle-earth, in which Middle-earth Enterprises has financial interests, include the Amazon series The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, which will premiere on September 2; the animated movie The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim (Warner Bros), set for release in 2024; and the mobile game The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth (Electronic Arts).

Other opportunities include exploring additional movies based on iconic characters such as Gandalf, Aragorn, Gollum, Galadriel, Eowyn and other characters from the literary works of Tolkien, as well as merchandising and other experiences.

Lars Wingefors, founder and group CEO of Embracer Group, said: “I am truly excited to have The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, one of the world’s most epic fantasy franchises, join the Embracer family, opening up more transmedia opportunities, including synergies across our global group. I am thrilled to see what lies in the future for this IP with Freemode and Asmodee as a start within the group. Going forward, we also look forward to collaborating with both existing and new external licensees of our increasingly stronger IP portfolio.”

Marty Glick, COO of The Saul Zaentz Company, added: “We at the Zaentz Company have had the honor over the past half-century of stewarding the Tolkien rights so that Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans worldwide could enjoy award-winning epic films, challenging video games, first rate theatre and merchandise of every variety. We could not be more thrilled that it is Embracer now taking up the responsibility, and we are confident their group will take it to new heights and dimensions while maintaining homage to the spirit of these great literary works.”