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Dark Horse Comics properties such as Hellboy and The Umbrella Academy are finding a new home. The indie comics publisher has agreed to be sold to Embracer Group, the Swedish video game conglomerate. The deal is expected to close in early 2022.
The publisher’s new owner, which has 9,000 employees globally, is touting the untapped potential of the Dark Horse library, noting that 159 of its 170 of its owned properties have yet to be optioned for film and TV shows. Dark Horse has a first-look deal with Netflix, which produces the popular Umbrella Academy adaptation, currently preparing for a 2022 season three. The publisher has projects at various stages of development at Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, Sony, Amazon and AMC.
Dark Horse says it has 300 IPs to mine, including properties such as The Mask and Timecop, which became movies in the 1990s. Hellboy was adapted into two Guillermo Del Toro-directed films in the 2000s, as well as a 2019 reboot starring David Harbour that disappointed at the box office. The sale comes as indie publishers work to mine their properties for film and television, and giants such as Netflix have shelled out millions to acquire the rights to the work of creators such as Jupiter’s Legacy writer Mark Millar.
Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson, who founded the company in 1986, will remain at the helm along with current management, the companies said. Dark Horse has 181 employees and has offices in Milwaukie, Oregon and Los Angeles. In addition to the publishing side, it is home to Dark Horse Entertainment, which oversees its film and television businesses, and the merchandising arm, Things From Another World.
“The synergies that exist with the Embracer network of companies promise exciting new opportunities not only for Dark Horse, but also for the creators and companies we work with,” Richardson said in a statement. “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. I have to say, the future for our company has never looked brighter.”
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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