Keywords Studios agrees to acquire Smoking Gun Interactive for CAD40mn

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 Smoking Gun Interactive Inc.   

This acquisition would further the Group’s strategy to be the partner of choice for technical and creative services for the global video games industry.

Keywords Studios agrees to acquire Smoking Gun

Smoking Gun is a 68 person video game development studio based in Vancouver, Canada. 

Industry veterans John Johnson, Drew Dunlop and Angie Pytlewski set up Smoking Gun in 2007 and will continue to manage the studio as part of the Keywords group. 

Smoking Gun Interactive has a long track record in developing, enhancing and supporting highly rated, cross platform games for mobile, PC and console devices and works for publishers including Microsoft and Netflix Games. 

The talented Smoking Gun team has particular expertise in the casual, real time strategy (RTS) and action genres and works on some of the industry’s best-known classic games including Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Microsoft Mahjong. 

The studio also produced the highly successful RTS game Age of Empires: Castle Siege, part of the classic Age of Empires franchise.    

Under the terms of the acquisition,  Keywords will pay a maximum amount of CAD$40.0m, comprised of initial cash consideration of CAD$16.0m, the equivalent of CAD$4.0m in new ordinary shares to be issued within 30 days of completion, and up to CAD$20.0m, 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 lock in periods and orderly market provisions for a further year.  

Smoking Gun is expected to grow strongly over the next 12 months and deliver EBITDA of around CAD$6m.

Bertrand Bodson, CEO of Keywords Studios commented: “We are delighted to welcome John, Drew, Angie and the highly skilled Smoking Gun team to Keywords.  Smoking Gun has a 15 year history of high quality game development and the studio’s expertise in casual and RTS development for mobile games combined with its experience in live operations games support are valuable extensions of our client offering. 

The acquisition builds on our presence in the Vancouver area, which is a rich source of talent and one of North America’s video gaming hubs.  We are really looking forward to working with the Smoking Gun team and supporting the studio’s continuing growth as part of the Group.”

John Johnson, Drew Dunlop and Angie Pytlewski of Smoking Gun, commented: “We are very excited to be joining Keywords.  Keywords is an industry leader with an unrivalled range of high quality services which will help accelerate Smoking Gun’s growth and provide opportunities to build, deliver and support more award winning titles. 

We are really looking forward to playing our part in helping to deliver on the strategy of the wider Keywords group by bringing Smoking Gun’s expertise and experience to the Group’s client offering.”

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