23 April 2019
Keywords Studios plc ("Keywords", "the Group")
Acquisition of Wizcorp Inc.
Geographic expansion of Keywords Engineering Service line into the Japanese game development market
Keywords Studios, the international technical services provider to the global video games industry, today announces that it has acquired the entire issued share capital of Wizcorp Inc. ("Wizcorp") for a cash consideration of JPY 120m from Ankama SAS ("Ankama") and Silicon Studio Corporation (the "Sellers").
Based in Tokyo, Japan, Wizcorp develops games on behalf of others mainly in the mobile space, with particular expertise in HTML5 and other mobile technologies. Wizcorp was established in 2008 and has provided game development as a service to a wide variety of Japanese publishers and developers such as LINE, Square Enix, Avex, Yahoo Japan, and Bandai Namco, as well as undertaking game development for its parent company, Ankama.
Wizcorp's 35-person strong team, led by CEO Guillaume Hansali, is made up of talented software engineers and artists from around the world. With annual revenues of JPY 310m, it is well established in the fast-paced Japanese mobile development market. The acquisition extends Keywords' Engineering Service line by providing a platform for expansion in Japan's games development market, one of the largest in the world. Whilst the business has not been a profit centre under its existing ownership structure, we would expect it to be able to achieve margins at similar levels to Keywords' existing Engineering Service line once we align it with our existing operations and build up its scale.
Christopher Kennedy, Regional Managing Director - Asia of Keywords Studios commented:
"We are thrilled to welcome Guillaume and the Wizcorp team to join our fast-growing operations in Tokyo where we already employ 300 people. Japan is one of the world's most significant game development hubs and has a long history in this industry. Keywords is excited at the opportunities Wizcorp will bring the Group and its clients in the Japanese market as it becomes the latest member of our global Engineering service line. Wizcorp's HTML5 expertise is a valuable extension to our console, mobile and PC games development skills, which is particularly interesting in the context of Snap's recent launch of its HTML5 based gaming platform.
"We look forward to replicating the success of our previous transaction with our long-standing client, Ankama, which saw us acquire their 23 people strong captive player support operation in Manila in March 2016 before building it into a multi-client player support hub that now employs 700 people. We see a strong opportunity to accelerate Wizcorp's growth by building on its existing services for some of Ankama's game development needs and providing it with opportunities to work with Keywords' extensive client base."
For further information, please contact:
Keywords Studios (www.keywordsstudios.com)
Andrew Day, Chief Executive Officer
David Broderick, Chief Financial Officer
Giacomo Duranti, Chief Operating Officer
+353 190 22 730
Numis (Financial Adviser)
Stuart Skinner / Kevin Cruickshank (Nominated Adviser)
James Black / Tom Ballard (Corporate Broker)
020 7260 1000
MHP Communications (Financial PR)
Katie Hunt / Ollie Hoare
020 3128 8100
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 50 facilities in 21 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 850 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, Epic Games 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 Rainbow Six Siege. Keywords Studios is listed on AIM, the London Stock Exchange regulated market (KWS.L).
About Wizcorp (www.wizcorp.jp)
Established in 2008, Wizcorp is a Tokyo-based game development company focused on providing end-to-end services for games and other types of highly interactive content, including conception, development, production, and live operations. Well-known for its cutting-edge HTML5 and mobile games, Wizcorp aims at creating mind-expanding game experiences by always pushing the limits of the possible. In the last 10 years, Wizcorp has worked or collaborated on more than 30 titles released in over 10 countries, with companies such as LINE, Avex, Bandai Namco, Square Enix and Yahoo! Japan.
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