Keywords Studios acquires Snowed In Studios for $4M (CAD)

keywordsKeywords Studios, the international creative and technical services provider to the global video games industry, has acquired Snowed In Studios Inc. from its current owners, Jean-Sylvain Sormany, Tim Vito and Evan Hahn, for up to $4 million Canadian dollars.

Founded in 2010 and based in Ottawa, Canada, Snowed In offers engineering and co-development services to the video-games industry and has a strong global reputation and well-established relationships with clients such as Ubisoft, Nickelodeon and Bethesda. The company has 29 employees all working in-house in its office in Ottawa led by the current owners, who will remain with Snowed In to drive its growth as part of Keywords.

Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords Studios, said, “The addition of Snowed In to the Group will add strength and scale to our recently established engineering service line and enable Snowed In to take advantage of the group’s very strong presence in the region to support its growth. Having grown the engineering service line from nothing in May 2017, we now employ over 300 software engineers in multiple regions, and I’m delighted that Jean-Sylvain, Tim, Evan and their highly talented and creative team are joining the group as we continue to grow.”

Ireland, Dublin & Canada, Ottawa

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THQ Nordic acquires German game developer and publisher HandyGames

THQ NordicTHQ Nordic has acquired the game developer and publisher HandyGames, headquartered in Giebelstadt, Germany.

THQ Nordic GmbH is acquiring 100% of the shares for a total cash consideration of 1 million euro. In addition, the parties have agreed a potential performance based earnout of up to 1.5 million euro.

Founded in 2000, HandyGames has released more than 150 games on a multitude of platforms, using a wide range of technologies. Current game development is focused on iOS, Android, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, tablet computers, Android TV, Wearables as well as digital-only releases on next generation consoles. The company currently has about 50 employees.

HandyGames will continue operating as a developer and publisher for value-priced projects under the management of THQ Nordic GmbH in Vienna.

THQ Nordic MD Klemens Kreuzer said, “It is a true win-win situation for all parties involved, as HandyGames perfectly complements the setup of the rest of our group as the new ‘go to’-publisher for small- and mid-sized developers and projects and will benefit from our network and infrastructure in return. In joining forces with HandyGames, THQ Nordic is tapping into the VR Games segment, and gains access to one of Europe’s most powerful mobile games distribution network”.

Austria, Vienna & Germany, Geibelstadt

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Electronic Arts acquires Industrial Toys

Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts Inc. has acquired Industrial Toys, a creative team of experienced game makers based in Pasadena, California. Led by Alex Seropian, founder and former CEO of Bungie Studios and former executive at Disney Interactive, the team is known for developing unique game ideas on different devices, and they join EA with a continued focus on bringing new game concepts to life. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The 14-person Industrial Toys studio is joining EA’s Worldwide Studios organisation, the global creative collective responsible for development of EA titles across all major platforms.

Samantha Ryan, SVP and Group GM in EA’s Worldwide Studios group said, “Creating breakthrough games takes passionate developers and incredible creativity, and each time we’ve worked with the Industrial Toys team, we’ve been inspired by their unique approach. We’re thrilled to have them join our studio organisation, pursue new ideas together and bring amazing new games to our players.”

USA, Redwood, CA & Pasadena, CA

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Keywords acquires Blindlight for up to $10M

keywordsKeywords Studios, the international technical services provider to the global video games industry, has acquired Blindlight LLC for a consideration of up to $10m, from the founder, Lev Chapelsky.

Blindlight achieved EBITDA of an average of $1m per annum over the three-year period to 31 December 2017. Under the terms of the acquisition Keywords is paying an initial $3.64m in cash and will issue 64,521 new ordinary shares in Keywords to the seller on the first anniversary of the acquisition which will then be subject to orderly market provisions for a further 12 months. Deferred consideration of up to $4.8m will be payable to the seller in cash depending on the performance of the business in the 12-month periods to the first and second anniversaries of the acquisition.

Founded in 2001 and based in Hollywood, California, Blindlight enjoys a leading position in the provision of Hollywood production services for the video games industry. The company works on behalf of game publishers and developers in procuring specialised talent and managing the entire production processes for the parts of games that benefit from Hollywood production resources. Blindlight’s service disciplines include voiceover production, celebrity acquisition and rights management, game writing, music, sound design and motion capture.

Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords Studios, said, “Keywords and Blindlight have got to know each other well over the past three years and we see good opportunities to leverage both businesses to offer a wider range of world leading services to our clients. We are delighted to welcome Lev and the rest of the team to the Keywords family. Following our recent acquisition of music services companies, Cord Worldwide and Laced, we see excellent opportunities for Blindlight to bring these services to Los Angeles, as well as providing access to further opportunities for our downstream production services of translation and localised voice over.”

Ireland, Dublin & USA, West Hollywood, CA

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Supercell Invests $5M in Redemption Games

Supercell FinlandFinland-based game company Supercell has made its first American investment with a $5 million minority stake in Redemption Games, an innovative game development studio in Carlsbad, California. Supercell is known for hit mobile gaming titles “Hay Day,” “Clash of Clans,” “Boom Beach,” and “Clash Royale.”

The investment is for a minority stake in Redemption Games, which will continue as an independent studio with full control of its operations, and is not part of a publishing relationship, but rather to support the development of new intellectual property and to bring it to market. Witz and Dan Lin, co-founders of Redemption, worked together for 20 years, collaborating for 10 of those in mobile gaming. They sold their prior company, Mob Science, to Jam City (previously SGN) in Los Angeles where they led the design and development of the top grossing game “Cookie Jam”.

Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen, said, “In our investments, we are always looking for the best teams with great culture. Redemption Games has an amazing team of experienced developers, who have a solid track record and true passion for making great puzzle games. We’ve been impressed by their craftsmanship and distinctive approach to game development. This is our first investment outside of Europe and we couldn’t be more excited to partner up with the Redemption Games team.”

Finland, Helsinki & USA, Carlsbad, CA

Bigben Interactive acquires French games developer Cyanide for €20M

Bigben interactive logoBigben Interactive has acquired Cyanide, a French studio developing video games for €20 million, obtaining 100% of the company’s shares and voting rights. In the wake of Bigben’s increased stake in the capital of the Kylotonn Racing studio, this transaction will allow the Group, until now a publisher and distributor of video games, to fully integrate the development phase of games.

The transaction is to be paid for half in cash and for half through the issue of Bigben new shares in order to remunerate the transfer of Cyanide shares (dilution ranging from 3.5% to 4.0% of Bigben’s current share capital).

In order to avoid any further dilution, Bigben also purchased all potential capital instruments on the day of the transaction for an additional € 1.1 million in cash.

An earn-out capped and based on the net profit of Cyanide (and its subsidiaries) for FY 2018-19 (as at 31 March 2019) may be paid in September 2019. The closing of the transaction is scheduled to take place in June 2018.

Created in 2000 by 7 seasoned developers of the video game industry, Cyanide is one of the French reference studios recognized for the development of creative video games in numerous genres (strategy, narrative, shooting, management, sport, action and adventure) as well as for the quality of its productions.

Based in France (Paris and Bordeaux) and in Canada with 110 employees on its payroll, the studio expects €6.1 million sales and a €1.9 million net profit for financial year 2017/2018 (closing on 31 March 2018, pending audit results).

Alain Falc, chairman and CEO of Bigben, said, “This acquisition is a capital milestone in Bigben’s strategy as it greatly enhances our ability to create new games that meet our ambitions in the AA segment. Bigben is also proud to welcome to its Group the talents of Cyanide, one of the most creative French studios in the sector and we will be supporting their upswing towards new, even more ambitious projects.”

France, Lesquin & Nanterre

ReedPOP acquires Gamer Network

ReedpopReed Exhibitions’ games and pop culture live events division ReedPOP is adding Gamer Network and its portfolio of events, websites, and video channels to its portfolio. The addition of Gamer Network marks ReedPOP’s first expansion beyond the event production business. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Gamer Network is home to editorial and community websites and YouTube channels, including flagship brands Eurogamer, RockPaperShotgun, GamesIndustry.biz, VG247, Outside Xbox, Digital Foundry and USgamer. The company also organises the UK’s biggest games event, EGX and the world class indie games event, EGX Rezzed.

The combination of the two portfolios gives ReedPOP the opportunity to combine its live games events across four continents with a worldwide online community of over 50 million monthly users.

Lance Fensterman, global head of ReedPOP said, “Gamer Network is one of the world’s leading voices for gamers and gaming culture. The opportunity to be in business with Rupert Loman and the brands, events and team he has created is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Bringing ReedPOP and Gamer Network together, PAX and EGX together – these are the kinds of mash ups you dream of. We are beyond excited to dream up new concepts that will blow the minds of fans all over the world.”

USA, Norwalk, CT & UK, Brighton

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