Keywords acquires La Marque Rose, Asrec, Dune Sound and Around the Word – all in Paris

keywordsKeywords Studios, a technical services provider to the video games industry, has acquires La Marque Rose SARL, Asrec SAS and the subsidiary companies of holding company, Dune Media SAS, trading as Dune Sound and Around the Word, which are all based in Paris and provide audio recording and localisation services to the video games industry internationally.

The businesses being acquired have combined annual revenues of €9.0 million and profit before tax of €0.9 million. The total aggregate consideration payable is €6.6 million on day one and up to a further €1.0 million over the two years to 31 December 2019, based on meeting performance targets for the combined businesses. Of the total aggregate consideration of up to €7.6 million, up to €6.7 million is in cash, and the remainder through the issue of 75,796 new ordinary shares in Keywords. Of this total, 9,534 new shares will be issued on day one (and are subject to a 12 month hard lock-in) and the balance will be issued on the first anniversary of completion.

Keywords intends to integrate La Marque Rose, Dune Sound, Around the Word and Asrec with their existing recording studio in Paris (acquired as part of the Synthesis acquisition in April 2016).  The scale of the combined operation will support an investment of around €1m in new audio recording studios and offices that will accommodate all 50 employees in a single location.

All but one of the six founders and shareholders will remain in the businesses with Michel Golgevit, founder of Dune being appointed as CEO of the combined companies.

La Marque Rose, founded in 1989, provides expertise in translation, project management and voice direction – from video game localization to dubbing of TV shows, trailers and ads. Established in 1998, Dune Sound (audio recording) and Around the Word (game localisation), which also has a small presence in Germany and in Canada, are together the largest providers of French language video game localisation.  Asrec started in 2010 and has been providing Keywords, Synthesis and Binari Sonori with French audio recording for the past four years.

Fulvio Sioli, European Managing Director of Keywords Studios, commented:

“These acquisitions are an important milestone in the development of our Localisation and Audio Services business lines in Europe. While the trend for game developers and publishers to increasingly source all languages from a single provider is clear, some clients continue to want to transact separately for individual languages. This is still most prevalent for those regarded as pillar languages of which French is probably still the most important.  The combination of La Marque Rose, Dune Sound, Around the Word and Asrec with our existing Keywords studio, gives us a leading share of this games production work.

Ireland, Dublin & France, Paris

Keywords Studios acquires Spov 

keywordsKeywords Studios, a technical services provider to the video games industry, has acquired Spov Ltd. for up to £1.2 million in cash from its founder, Allen Leitch. Based in London, UK, Spov provides creative development, cinematics, UI, visual effects and motion graphics services to the video game and film markets. ()

Founded in 2007 by Allen Leitch, Spov maintains a small team of creatives in London and manages a network of experienced designers, animators, film makers and artists to produce intricate footage for use in video games, film and TV. The company has worked on titles that include Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Watch Dogs, The Division, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare; Batman: Arkham Knight and Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

 Fred Stockton, Global Art Service Line Director, Keywords Studios commented: “We are thrilled to have Allen and the Spov team of talented creative professionals join the Art Service Line at Keywords Studios.  Their skills and experience will enhance our ability to provide a broader range of services to our clients.  Likewise, we look forward to meeting with Spov clients to share with them the full spectrum of capabilities that Keywords Studios has to offer.  This acquisition will strengthen our market position as a leading provider of digital art services and will contribute to our continuing growth in this area.”

Ireland, Dublin & UK, London

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XLMedia acquires ClicksMob

XLMediaXLMedia, a provider of digital performance marketing, is to acquire ClicksMob Inc, a mobile performance marketing platform for $5.1 million. The transaction was made through Dau-Up, XLMedia’s mobile marketing subsidiary. It is expected to complete during the first quarter of 2017.

ClicksMob generated unaudited revenues of $16.3 million and profit before tax of $0.3 million for year ended 31 December 2016.

ClicksMob delivers performance-based user acquisition to leading apps across a number of verticals, including gaming, e-commerce, travel, entertainment and finance. The addition of ClicksMob will provide Dau-Up with significant presence in Asia, with over 30% of ClicksMob 2016 revenues generated from the region.

As part of the transaction Dau-Up will acquire ClicksMob’s proprietary technologies such as audience matching, engine optimization and fraud fighting tools which will be integrated with Dau-Up’s own technology.

Ory Weihs, Chief Executive Officer of XLMedia, commented: “We are excited to announce the acquisition of ClicksMob, which combined with our own mobile marketing capabilities provides a significant future growth engine for the Group across key verticals.  This acquisition represents an excellent opportunity for XLMedia to further extend our reach in Asia in addition to strengthening our presence in North America. As mobile marketing becomes a driving force in the online marketing world, we see this as a strategic acquisition to further strengthen our offering in this important vertical.”

UK, London & Tel Aviv, Israel & St Helier, Jersey

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Keywords Studios acquires Enzyme Testing Labs

keywordsKeywords Studios has acquired Global Video-Games Services Inc. (GVGS) together with its subsidiary companies including its principal trading entity, Enzyme Testing Labs Inc. from its founders, Yan Cyr and Emmanuel Viau and Fonds d’Investissement de la Culture et des Communications (FICC).

Keywords Studios is paying the sellers and settling the financing obligations of FICC to a total of CAD$5.4m. This is being satisfied by the payment of CAD$4.9m in cash to the Sellers and CAD$0.5m to FICC in repayment of loans advanced to GVGS.

Enzyme was founded in 2002. The consolidated, audited accounts for the year to 31 December 2015 show revenue of CAD$11.5m and profit before interest and tax of CAD$1.3m. Net assets at closing after adjusting for the loans being repaid are estimated to be CAD$2.3m.

Based in Montreal and St-Jérôme (60 km from Montreal) and with an office in Kawasaki near Tokyo, Enzyme’s strengths are in Functional and Localisation Testing of video games for leading game publishers and developers. In addition, it provides Localisation Services and Focus Group Testing; the latter fitting well with Keywords’ recently acquired Player Research. Combining Enzyme with Keywords will significantly increase Keywords’ Functional Testing capacity (which accounted for 8% of Group revenue in the first half of 2016) and provide significant operational synergies within the Group. The business will be integrated into Keywords during the course of 2017 and we anticipate the resulting synergies will deliver significant margin improvement.

Andrew Day, Chief Executive of Keywords Studios, commented: “The acquisition of Enzyme brings together two of the leading video games testing providers, reinforcing Keywords’ position as the market leader in the field, with testing operations in Montreal, St-Jérôme, Seattle, Tokyo, Singapore, New Delhi, Milan and Dublin.”

Ireland, Dublin & Canada, Montreal

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Keywords Studios acquires Player Research Ltd

Keywords Studios has acquired Player Research Ltd for £1.3 million. Based in Brighton, UK, Player Research provides consulting and user testing from its esting laboratory to mobile, console and VR game developers throughout the world, helping them to attract, retain and monetise players.

Player Research was founded in 2012 by Graham McAllister and employs a number of PhDs and MScs at its research laboratory in Brighton, with expertise in fields such as Human-Computer Interaction, Neuroscience, Computer Science, Experimental Psychology, Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology.

Keywords is paying an initial consideration of £700,000 in cash, plus 65,280 new ordinary shares in Keywords, which will be subject to a two-year lock in period. A further cash payment of up to £300,000 may be payable subject to Player Research achieving certain targets within two years of the acquisition.

Giacomo Duranti, Chief Operating Officer, commented: “Keywords and Player Research have been exploring opportunities together over the past 3 years. As both companies have expanded their services to multiple points along the games lifecycle the fit between us has become increasingly apparent. We believe that by integrating Player Research within the Group, and rolling out its services into our existing studios to provide reach into all major gaming regions, we will be able to leverage the intellectual capital, talent pool and execution capability of both organisations to significantly enhance the value we are able to bring to our clients.”

Ireland, Dublin & UK, Brighton

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Future plc to acquire Imagine Publishing for£14.2M

FutureFuture plc is to acquire Miura (Holdings) Ltd, the parent company of Imagine Publishing Limited in an all share deal deal valuing the company at £14.2 million.

Imagine’s portfolio includes 19 magazines, around 300 annual bookazines and a complementary web presence. The company publish in four key markets – technology, photography, video games and science. Titles include include All About History, Digital Photographer, World of Animals, GamesTM, Retro Gamer,, X-ONE, Play, For Beginners and SciFiNow.

The company was formed with private funds in 2005 by Damian Butt, Steven Boyd and Mark Kendrick. All were former directors of publishing companies.

Imagine Publishing2Imagine is expected to report revenue of £16.4m for year to 31 March 2016, with EBITA of £3.1m, margin of 19% and cash generated from operations of £3.4m

Upon completion of the Acquisition, the vendors of Imagine will own, in aggregate, c.32.8% of Future’s enlarged issued share capital

Zillah Byng-Thorne, Future plc Chief Executive said, “This is a unique opportunity to acquire a market leading knowledge, science and technology content business which will complement and expand our capabilities.

Future’s share price jumped eight per cent to 8.5p after the deal was announced.

UK, Bath & Bournemouth

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Keywords Studios acquires Synthesis for up to €18m

keywordsKeywords has acquired the Synthesis group of companies. Synthesis provides localisation, audio and localisation testing services to video game developers and publishers. In particular, Keywords is acquiring 100% of the equity share capital of Synthesis Global Solutions SA in Switzerland, Sillabit S.R.L. in Milan, Italy and Synthesis Deutschland GmbH in Hamburg, Germany from the founders. In addition, certain assets and employees of Synthesis’s operations in France, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, US, Taiwan, Singapore, Korea and Japanwill transfer to Keywords.

The Synthesis Group posted pro forma revenues of €16.9 million and PBT of €2.0 million for the year ended 31 December 2015. The Group is paying up to €18 million, of which €1m in cash is contingent on revenue of at least €15 million being achieved in the 12 month period after the acquisition. Of the initial €17 million payable, €10.2 million was paid in cash on completion with the remainder in new Keywords shares to be issued in two equal tranches on the first and second anniversary of the acquisition.

Synthesis founded in Milan in 1995. It has expanded internationally, initially opening branches in Italy and Spain, followed by Germany, the USA and Japan and later extending its presence to France, Brazil, Mexico, Taiwan and Singapore. Founders Max and Luca Reynaud, , and the management team, will remain with the business.

Andrew Day, Chief Executive of Keywords, commented: “The acquisition of the Synthesis Group represents our largest acquisition to date and, in common with our acquisition in February 2014 of Babel Media, is an important milestone in our consolidation of this highly fragmented market.”

Ireland, Dublin & Italy, Milan

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