CEO Lars Wingefors still holds a fifth of the equity. He is supported by Savvy Gaming Group, headed by an Activision alumnus and including the much-touted Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund - or PIF, for Public Investment Fund - as one of its shareholders.

The partnership that was abandoned yesterday involved a $2 billion investment program in various title developments. It would not be surprising if the retreating partner was the PIF.

A frenzied acquirer, Embracer seems to be on at least as slippery a path as VF Corporation, discussed just today in this column. At this point, both are busted roll-ups, i.e. conglomerates that are fueled by external growth but struggle to deliver synergies.

The meteoric growth of their revenues - 5 million euros in 2013 versus 3.6 billion in 2023 - is countered by a structural inability to generate even a single cent of free cash flow. We discussed this video game player last November and we already noted this problem. We mentioned then that the market also seemed to be in "show me the money" mode waiting for the generation of hard cash. Since then, the company has disappointed and this announcement of a partnership nipped in the bud does not bode well. The market was right and was even too confident. We already had our doubts about the stock when we exited the Europa One fund a few months ago.

CEO Lars Wingefors sold a great story to the market - that of a precocious business genius who wanted to play it like the Warren Buffett of video games. His group has acquired a series of secondary or declining studios, such as Eidos or Cystal Dynamics, or even distant glories of the past, such as 3D Reals.

However, the catalog of franchises is not lacking in allure, with old "hits" such as Deus Ex, Tomb Raider, Hitman, Moto GP or even Saints Row. Let's also mention the rights to the Hellboy or Sin City comics, or the Catan board game. If the economic logic of the whole is doubtful, there are still some nice trophies.

All of these franchises were successful at one time or another, but that doesn't guarantee that Embracer will ever be able to make them profitable again - if it's even possible. Not only has the group never delivered a profit, but it now has to deal with a net debt of $1.6 billion, which considerably limits its room for manoeuvre.