Keywords Studios acquires Wizcorp

keywordsKeywords Studios, a technical services provider to the video games industry, has acquired Wizcorp Inc. for JPY 120 million from Ankama SAS and Silicon Studio Corporation (the “Sellers”).

Based in Tokyo, Japan, Wizcorp develops games on behalf of others mainly in the mobile space, with particular expertise in HTML5 and other mobile technologies.  Wizcorp was established in 2008 and has provided game development as a service to a wide variety of Japanese publishers and developers such as LINE, Square Enix, Avex, Yahoo Japan, and Bandai Namco, as well as undertaking game development for its parent company, Ankama.

Wizcorp’s 35-person strong team, led by CEO Guillaume Hansali, is made up of software engineers and artists from around the world. With annual revenues of JPY 310m, it is well established in the fast-paced Japanese mobile development market.

The business has not made a profit under its existing ownership structure. Keywords expect it to be able to achieve margins at similar levels to Keywords’ existing Engineering Service line once it builds scale and is aligned with their existing operations.

Christopher Kennedy, Regional Managing Director – Asia of Keywords Studios commented: “We look forward to replicating the success of our previous transaction with our long-standing client, Ankama, which saw us acquire their 23 people strong captive player support operation in Manila in March 2016 before building it into a multi-client player support hub that now employs 700 people. We see a strong opportunity to accelerate Wizcorp’s growth by building on its existing services for some of Ankama’s game development needs and providing it with opportunities to work with Keywords’ extensive client base.”

Ireland, Dublin and Japan, Tokyo

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ReedPOP acquires Florida Supercon

ReedPopReed Exhibitions’ games and pop culture live events division ReedPOP has acquired Florida Supercon, an annual convention held in Miami, Florida celebrating comics, superheroes, science fiction, anime, cartoons, video games, wrestling and all things pop culture. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Since the launch of the sold-out New York Comic Con in 2006, ReedPOP has sought to produce exceptional experiences for passionate audiences and help grow the industries surrounding those passions. Over the past two years, ReedPOP launched its first comic con in Africa, Comic Con Africa, and an all-new U.S. show, Keystone Comic Con in Philadelphia, expanding the portfolio to nearly 40 fan conventions around the world.

Lance Fensterman, Global President of ReedPOP, said, “We are thrilled with the addition of Florida Supercon to the ReedPOP family. Mike Broder [founder of Supercon] and his team have done an amazing job in making this show one that has incredible fan and industry support. We plan to spend time listening to the fans and exhibitors and then investing to build upon the awesome convention and continue to give the great fan base a fantastic experience.”

USA, Norwalk, CT & Miami, FL

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THQ Nordic acquires game development studios Coffee Stain and Bugbear

THQ NordicTHQ Nordic has acquired both Coffee Stain Studios, developers of Deep Rock Galactic, A Story About My Uncle, and the Satisfactory, and Bugbear Entertainment, who created Flatout and Wreckfest. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Lars Wingefors, CEO of THQ Nordic, said, “We are creating a complementary digital native pillar to THQ Nordic. Coffee Stain is a passionate and highly competent team creating and publishing great games. After some years without major releases, the pipeline of new game releases such as Satisfactory and Deep Rock Galactic look strong. I look forward to working together with Anton Westbergh and his team in the future.”

THQ Nordic now has a sizeable array of studios and IPs, with over 55 games in active development.

Austria, Vienna, Sweden, Skövde & Finland, Helsinki

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Keywords Studios acquires The TrailerFarm

keywordsKeywords Studios, a services provider to the video games industry, has acquired Brighton, UK based The TrailerFarm Ltd

Founded in 2011 by brothers Tony and Dan Porter, TrailerFarm’s team of 12 creative produce trailers for both mobile and console/PC games for use in game launches and ongoing promotional events. In 2018 Keywords acquired Fire Without Smoke which also provides marketing services and produces trailers. 

 In the year ending 30 June 2018, TrailerFarm posted revenues of £1 million and adjusted EBITDA of £165K.  Keywords is paying a total consideration of up to £2 million. The initial consideration of £1 million is made up of £790k in cash and 11,070 new ordinary shares in Keywords, which are to be issued to the sellers on the first anniversary of the acquisition. The remaining consideration of up to £1m is payable in cash, subject to the increase in profit before tax of TrailerFarm over the 12 month period post acquisition.

 Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords Studios commented, “I’m delighted to welcome Scott and his team into the Keywords family. As games become ever more immersive, sound design quality is getting ever closer to that of movies. Our new Sound Lab studio, created around Scott and his team, will be integrated within the Keywords Audio Services Line and will benefit accordingly from our global network of studios and our extensive video game client base around the world.  

Ireland, Dublin & UK, Brighton

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Keywords Studios acquires Studio Gobo and Electric Square

keywordsKeywords Studios, a technical services provider to the video games industry, has acquired Studio Gobo Ltd and Electric Square Ltd (a Gobo studio), for up to £26 million from the founders and other members of the management team.

Gobo’s revenue has grown quickly from £6.2m for the year ended 30 September 2017 to an estimated £11.6m for the 12 months ending 31st July 2018. Underlying pro-forma EBITDA for the same 12 months is expected to be approximately £3.6m.

The total consideration payable is up to £26m. The initial consideration is £10.5m in cash and 254,529 new ordinary shares in Keywords, which will be issued on the anniversary of completion. The remaining consideration of £11 million is payable in a mix of cash and shares, or all in cash at the discretion of Keywords, subject to achieving an increased EBITDA over the 12-month period following completion.  All of the Sellers are remaining with the business under the continued direction of Gobo CEO, Tony Beckwith.

Gobo provides game development services to video game developers and publishers around the world from its Studio Gobo and Electric Square studios based across three studio locations in Brighton and Hove, UK.

Founded in 201, Gobo employs 170 software engineers, artists, animators, game designers, quality assurance testers and producers. Over the years, Gobo has worked on top games franchises such as Disney Infinity, Ubisoft’s For Honor, and Microsoft’s newest racing game, Miami Street.

Andrew Day, Chief Executive Officer of Keywords Studios, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Studio Gobo and Electric Square to the Keywords family. By significantly enhancing our game development services in both scale and expertise, these studios together with recently acquired Snowed In, Sperasoft, d3t and GameSim help position Keywords as a go to game development partner and give us ever greater visibility of games in the pipeline, at the outset of their development.”

Ireland, Dublin & UK, Brighton and Hove

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THQ Nordic acquires Timesplitters

THQ NordicTHQ Nordic has acquired the video game trilogy Timesplitters from owner Crytek GmbH. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Timesplitters was largely considered as one of the most influential console games of the early 2000’s. The three game series earned a large and passionate fan base thanks to its unique humour, art style and pop culture references while encouraging customization and modification to give each person their own individual experience. Timesplitters was originally created by the development studio Free Radical Design that later become Deep Silver Dambuster, part of the THQ Nordic group.

In addition to Timesplitters, the IP and the rights to science fiction action-adventure game Second Sight were acquired. Both acquisitions were made through THQ Nordic’s fully owned subsidiary Koch Media GmbH, which they acquired in February 2018.

Austria, Vienna & Germany, Frankfurt

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Sumo Group acquires The Chinese Room for £2.2M

Sumo GroupSumo Group, the award-winning provider of creative and development services to the video games and entertainment industries, has acquired The Chinese Room from founders Dan Pinchbeck and Jessica Curry for £2.2 million, of which £1.6 million in cash, with the remaining £0.6 million paid through the issue of new shares in Sumo.

As an award-winning independent game developer, The Chinese Room is best known for creating the innovative games ‘Dear Esther’, ‘Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs’, the genre-defining ‘Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture’ and Google Daydream exclusive ‘So Let Us Melt’.

Dan will take the role of Creative Director of The Chinese Room, while Jessica will continue her career independently as a composer.

The Chinese Room will operate as part of Sumo Digital, becoming its fifth studio and fourth in the UK. Sumo Group intends to invest in The Chinese Room and continue development of current projects by building its team and collaborating with other Sumo Digital studios.

Carl Cavers, CEO of Sumo Group, said, “I am really pleased that Dan has chosen to join Sumo Group. We believe Dan’s renowned creative abilities will add real value to Sumo Group. The Chinese Room has an outstanding reputation and its acquisition will enhance and extend Sumo Digital’s capabilities. Having a studio in the south of England opens new doors for the Group and we are confident that it will create exciting opportunities.

This acquisition follows the addition of the studio in Newcastle, formerly CCP Games, in January this year, and the Nottingham studio that opened in 2016.

UK, Sheffield & Brighton

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