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Keywords Studios spends £26m on UK-based Studio Gobo

After a brief quiet period, Keywords Studios announced yet another acquisition – this time of UK development support team Studio Gobo and its ancillary Electric Square, for a fee of £26 million (subject to clauses).

Studio Gobo and Electric Square fall under the same banner, the former created in 2011 and the latter branded as such towards the end of 2015. The deal brings both studios under the wing of Keywords.

Of the £26 million pricetag, £10.5m was paid in cash and 254,529 new shares – issuable on the completion anniversary. The rest of the £11m fee will be payable either in cash or a cash-share mix, but only if there is a ‘substantial’ increase in Gobo/Electric’s underlying earnings in the 12 months after completion. What ‘substantial’ means isn’t clear.

Gobo had around 170 employees at the time of the purchase, and had up to the time of writing worked on the likes of For Honor and Disney Infinity from its three Brighton and Hove locations.

Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords Studios, said: “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.”

Tony Beckwith, who remains as CEO of Gobo, said: “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.”

After a whopping 11 acquisitions in 2017, it doesn’t look like Keywords is about to slow down in its quest to vacuum up all of the world’s creative talent. We’re up to eight with the Studio Gobo purchase, and there’s plenty of time left in the year to break last year’s figure.

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