Big play as videogame firm snapped up in £43m deal

Posted on April 22, 2021 by Jonathan Symcox

Climax Studios

A videogame company based in Portsmouth has been snapped up in a £43 million acquisition. 

Climax Studios, a provider of game development services to the industry, was founded in 1988, which makes it one of the longest-established game development businesses in the UK. 

The studio’s 109 staff, led by CEO Simon Gardner, provides full game development, co-development, porting and technical consulting services to some of the world’s largest games publishers including Sony, Microsoft, 2K, Codemasters and Electronic Arts.   

Acquisitive Dublin-based Keywords Studios, a listed international technical and creative services provider to the industry, has acquired its entire issued share capital, which it says will bring significant additional scale to its largest service line – game development – and further the group’s strategy to become the ‘go to’ technical and creative services platform for the global industry. 

Keywords will pay a maximum consideration of up to £43m, comprised of an initial consideration of £20.2m in cash and the equivalent of £6.8m in new ordinary shares. 

Deferred consideration of up to £16m, in a mix of cash and new ordinary shares, will be payable based on growth targets being met over the year following completion. 

Climax has worked on original games and co-development projects across all genres and platforms, including on recent titles such as Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Crackdown 3 and Returnal on PS5. 

Climax Studios (1)

In recent years it has grown impressively, recording an adjusted EBITDA of £4.3m in the year ended 31st December 2020 and growth has continued in the current financial year.   

“We are very excited about joining Keywords and the opportunities that being part of an industry leading global business will open up to our clients and our team,” said Gardner. 

“Keywords Studios shares our growth ambitions and their investment will support the delivery of a wider range of top-quality services and products to our clients. 

“We are looking forward to working closely with everyone at Keywords and to start playing our part in the impressive journey of the wider business.” 

Keywords Studios to acquire Gateshead game dev firm

Keywords provides services to almost all of the top 25 most prominent games companies, including Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Electronic Arts, Konami, Microsoft, Riot Games, Square Enix, Supercell, TakeTwo, Epic Games and Ubisoft.   

Recent titles worked on by the firm include Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Mortal Combat X, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Borderlands 3, League of Legends, Fortnite, Clash Royale and Rainbow Six Siege.   

Ireland’s Keywords Studios to acquire US Fortnite developer

Jon Hauck, joint interim CEO of Keywords Studios, commented: “We are delighted that Simon and the highly talented Climax team are joining the Keywords family.   

Climax brings a wealth of expertise, adds significant scale to our rapidly growing Game Development Service Line, and provides access to a new pool of talent from its base in Portsmouth.  

“The studio’s excellent track record of highquality delivery spans over 30 years, with its services in high demand from some of the largest names in the industry.   

We are very excited about the experience and opportunities that Climax will bring to Keywords, and our clients, and we look forward to enabling their continued growth as part of the group.” 

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