Tomb Raider games firm Embracer tumbles after partnership talks collapse
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish games group Embracer on Wednesday said a large planned strategic partnership had fallen through unexpectedly and that it had lowered its profit guidance, sending shares into a tailspin.
The developer, which last year bought several development studios and the intellectual property rights to a number of games including a new Tomb Raider game, said the deal would have "set a new benchmark for the gaming industry".
"Late last night, we were informed that one major strategic partnership that has been negotiated for seven months will not materialize," it said in a statement.
The deal being negotiated included more than $2 billion in contracted development revenue over six years, it said.
"The deal would have enabled a catch-up payment at closing for already capitalized costs for a range of large-budget games, but also notably improved medium-to-long-term profit and cash flow predictability for the duration of the game development projects."
Shares in Embracer were down 40% at 0753 GMT, hitting an all time low, with analysts saying the drop was due to the news of the deal as well as the lowered outlook.
Hit by game delays, weaker demand, and "lacklustre" reception for some new games, Embracer on Wednesday reported a fiscal full-year adjusted operating profit of 915 million crowns ($90.1 million), roughly matching a profit warning issued last week.
It said that on top of the partnership deal falling through, it had had to postpone planned releases of a number of games under development, cutting as a result its adjusted profit forecast for the current year to 7-9 billion crowns, from 10-14 billion seen previously.
Embracer declined to say who the potential partner was.
($1 = 10.1526 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Additional reporting by Agata Rybska in Gdansk; Editing by Conor Humphries)