Keywords Studios to Be Acquired by EQT in £2.1 Billion Deal

Keywords Studios, a prominent player in the video game services industry, has agreed to a £2.1 billion takeover offer from Swedish private equity firm EQT. This strategic move is set to significantly impact both the gaming and financial sectors.

Keywords Studios, headquartered in Dublin and listed on London’s junior AIM market, has accepted a cash bid of £24.50 per share from EQT. This offer represents a 66.7% premium on the share price as of May 17, valuing the company at approximately £2.2 billion when including debt. Despite the bid being slightly lower than the initial proposal of £25.50 per share, it still provides a substantial premium for shareholders.

According to a recent Mirror article, Keywords Studios’ Chairman Don Robert highlighted the volatility in returns for shareholders over the past 15 months, acknowledging that the offer presents a valuable opportunity for stakeholders to realize cash upfront at a significant premium.

This acquisition is the latest in a series of significant exits from the London Stock Exchange, as more companies opt to go private or shift their listings abroad. Keywords Studios, known for its work on blockbuster games such as Fortnite and Assassin’s Creed, has been a major player in the industry since its inception in 1998. The company operates in 26 countries across Europe, Asia, and Australia, providing technical and creative services to major video game developers.

EQT, which has a history of investing in technology firms, plans to leverage its experience to accelerate Keywords Studios’ growth. According to The Irish Times, Jean Salata, chair of EQT Asia, emphasized the firm’s intention to support Keywords in making long-term investments necessary for transitioning to next-gen video gaming and global expansion. EQT aims to broaden Keywords’ reach into adjacent media and entertainment markets, as well as fast-growing technologies.

The acquisition has been met with mixed reactions within the industry. While some analysts believe the deal fairly reflects the strength of Keywords Studios and its future prospects, others see potential for further value creation under private ownership. Notably, the transaction follows EQT’s previous acquisitions of UK-listed companies, including Dechra Pharmaceuticals.

As the acquisition process moves forward, the gaming industry will be closely watching the strategic developments and investments driven by EQT. For Keywords Studios, this transition marks a new chapter, poised for enhanced growth and innovation under the stewardship of a seasoned private equity firm.

Keywords Studios’ shares experienced a modest rise, reflecting investor confidence in the potential benefits of the deal. The acquisition is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of 2024, pending regulatory approvals and shareholder consent.

MultiLingual Staff
MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

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