STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Embracer said late on Wednesday it was buying French board games publisher Asmodee from private equity firm PAI Partners in a deal valued at 2.75 billion euros ($3.11 billion) to cement its position as the largest European gaming group.

Of the total deal value, 350 million euros would be paid to Asmodee’s shareholders and about 2.4 billion euros would be used for cash and debt refinancing.

The transaction, which is expected to close in the first half of next year, will immediately add to Embracer’s earnings.

“It’s been a competitive process … interest from other financial buyers have been quite strong,” Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors said in a conference call on Thursday.

Embracer works under a model under which founders of acquired companies run their firms as independent businesses, or “verticals,” with full creative and operational freedom.

The company has growth through acquisitions during the pandemic and has spent billions this year alone in buying gaming groups.

Asmodee, which will become Embracer’s ninth business “vertical,” with its headquarters in Paris, France, was founded in 1995 and has a portfolio of nearly 1,000 games and sells over 39 million games every year in more than 50 countries.

Separately, Embracer completed a 69 million B-share sale at 87 Swedish crowns per share to raise about 6 billion crowns.

($1 = 0.8846 euros)

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm)

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