LONDON, UK: Keywords Studios, the international technical and creative services provider to the global video games industry, has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire Forgotten Empires LLC, a full service game development studio, for a total consideration of up to US$32.5m.
The acquisition will further the Group’s strategy to become the ‘go to’ technical and creative services platform for the global video games industry.
Founded in 2013 by studio head Ryan Shepherd, who will continue leading Forgotten Empires within Keywords Studios, the studio specialises in the development of real time strategy games (“RTS”) including Microsoft’s classic franchise, Age of Empires.
Headquartered in Ohio in the US, Forgotten Empires’ talented team of 53 game developers are passionate individuals from around the globe who are also avid RTS fans. Forgotten Empires has worked on many games including all of the Age of Empires Definitive Editions, Age of Mythology: Extended Edition and Age of Empires IV and has worked alongside Keywords’ other game development studios Tantalus, Wicked Witch and Climax Studios on certain of those projects.
Forgotten Empires generated revenue of US$7.2m in 2021 and is expected to grow strongly in the current year. Under the terms of the acquisition, which is subject to certain closing conditions, Keywords Studios will pay a maximum amount of US$32.5m, comprised of initial cash consideration of US$15.75m, the equivalent of US$3.75m in new ordinary shares to be issued one year post completion (US$2m of which is contingent on targets being met in the first six months from completion), and up to US$13m, in a mix of cash and new ordinary shares based on growth targets being met over the year following completion.
The new ordinary shares in Keywords Studios to be issued are subject to one-year orderly market provisions.
Bertrand Bodson, CEO of Keywords Studios commented: “We are very excited to welcome Ryan and the Forgotten Empires team to Keywords. The studio has been instrumental in helping to create, design and grow the hugely successful and expanding Age of Empires series. Forgotten Empires’ talented team brings experience and expertise particularly in real time strategy games and will be a great addition to our client offering and game development capability. Forgotten Empires’ strong track record of attracting and retaining talent globally is a testament to Ryan, his team and the high quality of the work that the studio produces. We look forward to supporting Forgotten Empires’ continuing growth as part of the Group.”
Ryan Shepherd, further commented: “We are delighted to join Keywords Studios, an industry leading, fast growing business with a global footprint. We are really excited that they share our ambition and will provide the support to enable and underpin our continuing growth. Having worked alongside some of Keywords’ development studios we know the cultural fit will work well and we look forward to working more closely together with the wider Keywords’ group to drive the combined business forward.”