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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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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Content production company CreativeDrive acquires Zebra Worldwide

CreativeDriveIndependent global content production company CreativeDrive has acquired Zebra Worldwide to combine CreativeDrive’s network of over 150 studios in the U.S., Latin America, Asia and Europe with Zebra’s portfolio of video and content production and localization offices across London, Paris, Cape Town, Kiev and Sydney. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Zebra Worldwide was founded by Management Consultant Luke Hammersley and Creative Director/Writer Nic Franklin as a production company in May 2005. Zebra is a major international content partner for brands and agencies, providing still and moving image production, post-production, localisation and associated technology services through their office network. Through their independent client base and long-standing moving image localization partnership with adam&eve DDB, Zebra work with global brands such as Reckitt Benckiser, Hilton, Ryobi Powertools, Hotels.com, and in 2017 were live in over 100 markets internationally.

Zebra Worldwide will retain its identity in the short-term, eventually transitioning to become CreativeDrive EMEA in the coming months. Zebra Worldwide CEO and founder Luke Hammersley will become CreativeDrive EMEA CEO, reporting to CreativeDrive’s Global CEO, Myles Peacock. Nic Franklin becomes Creative Director and MD, Cape Town. Sarah Rose has been promoted from Finance Director to COO, EMEA.

CreativeDrive Global CEO Myles Peacock, said: “Zebra’s ability to deliver world class video and content production through their global teams and powerful localization platform addresses brands’ insatiable need for content that is customized for specific regions and cultures. The entire Zebra Worldwide team is a natural fit to both our existing culture and our mission to continuously challenge the status quo by consistently producing high-quality content with unparalleled speed and scale.”

USA, New York, NY & UK, London

Park Group and Studio Squared merge to form Tilt Creative + Production

Tilt CPFilm and video production firm Park Group and the content specialists from Studio Squared have merged as Tilt Creative + Production, a fully integrated creative and production firm formed to assist national and local clients with creation of traditional and digital video content.

Park GroupUnder the terms of the merger, Park Group founder Dave Trownsell and partner Stacy Murphy will hold a minority share of TiltCP, which is majority owned by former S2 president Ron Carey. Carey will serve as CEO of the combined entity, which employs just under 40 people.Studio Squared

“Combining as one allows us to concept a creative idea, produce that idea, edit that idea and pull it off through the efficiencies we gain by keeping the entire process in-house,” says Carey, who served as a senior vice president at The Martin Agency before joining S2 in 2014. “Content is proliferating across a number of traditional and digital channels and screen sizes, so we have built TiltCP to deliver a high volume of quality, creative content that remains reflective of every client’s brand.”

The Park and S2 merger comes as content demands for global brands are shifting away from traditional channels and moving onto a variety of digital platforms, streaming services, social media sites, and mobile devices. With the newfound demand comes the need for a high volume of creative production that must be met with speed and efficiency while still maintaining quality and ensuring that the client’s brand is accurately presented in the final product.

“As we have for over thirty years, our team will continue offering full-service production for television, film, and traditional advertising and marketing needs,” Trownsell says. “As we looked to the future of our industry, we recognized that we must also evolve and combine creative, strategy, production and post-production under one roof to offer clients a leaner and more responsive model to meet their needs.”

Founded in 1986, Park Group has become one of the largest media production groups in Virginia, offering national clients turnkey production and post-production services. S2 was formed by The Martin Agency in 2008 to produce digital point-of-sale, in-store advertising for major retailers and other businesses. The company was taken private this year by Carey, and several previous S2 employees have joined TiltCP. Clients include Walmart, Audi, Capital One, Ferguson Enterprises, and others.

USA, Richmond, VA