Keywords Studios will raise £100m through a share placement, with the intention of acquiring services companies that are facing instability due to the COVID-19 pandemic (via GI.biz). The money will be raised by issuing new ordinary shares valued at £0.01 each, with the total placing valued at £100 million.
Keywords said that although the pandemic had increased the amount of time people spend playing video games, driving continued demand for its own services, it was expecting to see “some stress in predominantly smaller service providers, which are typically single location and service with fewer clients and less able to weather the disruption.”
“This is likely to result in an increased number of acquisition opportunities for Keywords Studios, with some targets now more inclined to re-engage previously stale exploratory conversations,” said Keywords in a statement.
“The Board believes that these businesses and their customers are now more likely to recognise the attractions of being part of a larger group with a more diverse customer base, broader geographic reach, better operational systems and a stronger financial covenant.”
Keywords has been notable in recent years for its near-endless string of acquisitions, something that Keywords CEO Andrew Day related to us in an interview.
“I spend a lot of time talking to our investors, and they say: ‘[Acquisitions] seem to have been a bit lighter this year, what’s happening? Are you running out of things to buy?’ and I reply: ‘Absolutely not.’” said Day.
“In fact, the list is longer than ever. But what we are doing is being very specific about the sorts of businesses we buy. A few years ago we were buying localisation businesses, then we were buying testing businesses. Now we’re buying work-for-hire businesses.”
“We have a very deliberate acquisition strategy. And we’re basically trying to build each of our service lines into global businesses that have enough critical mass that they become the go-to provider for these services. So our clients think of Keywords first.
“And in order to do that, you have to have scale, you have to be able to accommodate a lot of client demands. In a service that’s matching demand, it’s quite easy just to say no to work when it comes in and a lot of people do. It’s harder sometimes to invest and be able to say yes more often than you say no. But at the same time, it’s super important never to say yes and then not deliver, or deliver badly.”