Keywords Studios plc Acquires Studio Gobo and Electric Square
Keywords Studios, the international technical services provider to the global video games industry, today announces that it has acquired Studio Gobo Ltd and Electric Square Ltd (together, "Gobo"), for a total consideration of up to £26 million from the founders and other members of the management team (the "Sellers").
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 2011 by game industry veterans, Gobo employs 170 software engineers, artists, animators, game designers, quality assurance testers and producers. Gobo works with game developers and publishers in a number of different operational models to deliver its services. These services include:
- Full game development in which Gobo will develop the game from concept to completion on behalf of the owner of the game franchise.
- Co-development in which a portion of the game's development is assigned to Gobo who's team work alongside the client's development team.
- Live operations in which Gobo develops new features and downloadable content packages to ensure the games they support continue to keep players excited and engaged.
- Porting services in which Gobo will adapt a game to run on a different platform (for example a mobile or Nintendo Switch version).
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.
Gobo adds considerable expertise and scale to Keywords' new and growing video game development business. It significantly increases Keywords' access to the UK's talent pool of video games developers, growing our total UK game development team to 220, in combination with our existing 50-strong team at d3t, whilst also expanding our worldwide game development team, which includes Snowed In, Sperasoft, and GameSim, by over a third to 610 people.
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.
Under the terms of the acquisition, which is expected to be earnings enhancing in the first year, Keywords is paying a total consideration of 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 and will then be subject to orderly market provisions for a further 12 months. The remaining consideration of £11m is payable in a mix of cash and shares, or all in cash at the discretion of Keywords, subject to the achievement of a substantial increase in Gobo's EBITDA over the 12-month period following completion. All of the Sellers are remaining with the business under the continued direction of Tony Beckwith.
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.
"The acquisition further expands the number of the world's leading game companies who use our development services. As winner of GamesIndustry.biz's Best Places to Work 2017 award, its Brighton and Hove locations and strong culture is also a major draw for talent around the UK and beyond.
"We look forward to working closely with Gobo's highly talented team to build upon their strong industry reputation and relationships with some of the world's leading games developers and publishers."
Tony Beckwith, Chief Executive Officer of Gobo, commented:
"We are excited about joining the Keywords Studios family. As we look to build upon our strong foundations, Keywords leading position in the video games industry, its breadth of services and its geographical reach will provide us with a strong and broader platform from which to deliver our ambitious growth plans. We also look forward to working collaboratively with other members of the Group in offering wider capabilities to all our clients.
About Keywords Studios (www.keywordsstudios.com)
Keywords Studios is an international technical services provider to the global video games industry. Established in 1998, and now with over 42 facilities in 20 countries strategically located in Asia, the Americas and Europe, it provides integrated art creation, software engineering, testing, localisation, audio and customer care services across more than 50 languages and 16 games platforms to a blue-chip client base of approximately 650 clients across the globe. It has a strong market position, providing services to 23 of the top 25 most prominent games companies, including Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Electronic Arts, Konami, Riot Games, Sony, Square Enix, Supercell, TakeTwo, and Ubisoft. Recent titles worked on include Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Call of Duty: WWII, Mortal Combat X, Assassin's Creed Origins, Battlefield 1, League of Legends, Fortnite, Clash Royale, and Mobile Strike. Keywords Studios is listed on AIM, the London Stock Exchange regulated market (KWS.L).
Established in 2011, the Gobo family of studios provide world-class game development services for the biggest and best partners in the industry. Studio Gobo offers expertise in AAA console character action games and extensive experience in co-development partnerships. Electric Square offers expertise in live operations and extensive experience in free to play and racing games. Gobo has a strong track record of developing high quality games designed to achieve chart success.