Emergent is up for sale

Emergent is up for sale
Michael French

By Michael French

November 12th 2010 at 12:00AM

Gamebryo firm's assets up for auction, with bids invited ahead of a December 10th deadline

Middleware firm Emergent is up for sale, it has emerged this evening.

According to leaked documents, the firm is running out of cash and has appointed an agency to sell its assets.

"Recent working capital constraints and an overly leveraged balance sheet have created the opportunity for the company’s assets to be purchased," the memo from US agency Gerbsman Partners reads.

It's not yet clear if Emergent remains a going concern and is up for auction in order to stave off liquidation, or if it has already decided to shut down.

Develop has contacted Emergent's spokesperson for clarification.

But certainly, the memo detailing the asset auction says Emergent 'will use its best efforts to make its employees available to assist purchasers with due diligence and assist with a prompt and efficient transition at mutually convenient time'.


Emergent has struggled of late. It announced a restructure in late 2009, and appointed a new CEO earlier this year.

And despite setting up more nimble efforts such as an IP and studio incubator - which gave free office space to new studios in exchange for future licensing revenues - other big bets, such as an aborted joint venture to merge technology with challenged Australian studio Krome, seems to have accelerated the firm's difficulties.

Although it has been a popular choice in the middleware world - Emergent's Gamebryo has featured in over 350 games and  generated $12.2m in revenue last year - its rivals have outpaced it; Unity is currently riding a wave of excitement at its yearly Unite conference, which started yesterday, while Epic Games is moving to new platforms such as iOS.

But, with technology that has been in the making for a decade and has secured in $40m venture funding, an opportunity is there for "significant short and long term value from Emergent’s assets and maintain the ability to quickly scale within the context of sufficient working capital and a stronger balance sheet," Gerbsman's solicitation reads.

Indeed, the company has regularly put a brave and confident face on the ups and downs of the middleware market - intrinsically tied to the console cycle and the changing nature of game development - regularly putting out announcements detailing its sales successes.

Emergent was originally formed in 2000 to create 3D graphics technology. It merged with Gamebryo creator NDL in 2005. The firm currently offices around the world, with its main development base in California.