30
Mar

Keywords Studios Enters Australia with Acquisition of 85% in Tantalus Media

Keywords Studios, the international technical and creative services provider to the global video games industry, has acquired an 85% interest in Tantalus for a total consideration of up to US $46.8m.

The investment will further the Group’s strategy to become the ‘go to’ technical and creative services platform for the global video games industry and marks Keywords Studios’ entry into the Australian video games market.

Founded in 1994 and based in Melbourne, Australia, Tantalus is a leading and prolific developer of high quality, multi-platform titles.  Led by Tom Crago, the studio has worked on close to 100 games, on every major platform since the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.  Notable game franchises among the studio’s credits include Age of Empires, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Cities Skylines, Sonic Mania and Mass Effect.  Tom Crago will work with Keywords Studios to drive its expansion in the region, both organically and through a healthy pipeline of acquisition opportunities.

Tantalus has grown strongly in recent years and generated adjusted EBITDA of c.US$6m in 2020.   Under the terms of the 85% investment, Keywords Studios will pay a maximum amount of US$46.8m, comprising initial consideration of US$30.6m (US$18.4m in cash from existing resources and the equivalent of US$12.2m in new ordinary shares) and deferred consideration of up to US$16.2m, in a mix of cash and new ordinary shares, based on performance targets for Tantalus over two years.  The new ordinary shares to be issued as part of the initial consideration and the deferred consideration will be subject to a one-year lock-in period and orderly market provisions for a further one year period.  

1 Keywords has acquired 85% of the issued share capital of Tantalus’ parent company, Keywords Australia Pty Ltd (“Keywords Australia”), a new company set up for this transaction.  Put and call options are in place that would allow the Group to buy the 15% shareholding in Keywords Australia in 3 years from Tom Crago’s wholly owned investment company.

Jon Hauck, Joint Interim CEO of Keywords Studios commented:

“Tantalus brings 27 years of experience of video game development in Australia for some of the largest global publishers and leading titles.  The talented team, led by Tom Crago and supported by an experienced management team, has an impressive track record of development work on major franchises including Age of Empires, Sonic ManiaThe Legend of ZeldaMass Effect, Cars and Cities: Skylines.

“We are delighted to welcome Tantalus to the Keywords Studios family.  As our first investment in Australia, we are very excited to work with Tom and his talented team who will bring invaluable expertise and market knowledge as we expand our presence in this attractive and growing region.”

Tom Crago, further commented:

“This is a great day for our team, and we are delighted to be joining the Keywords Studios family. We share the same outlook on the opportunities within the video game industry, and we’re grateful to Keywords Studios for investing in our growth, not just in Tantalus, but in the wider Australian market.

“This provides us with a great platform for further expansion, and with the talent and expertise available in this part of the world, we are very excited about the future. For all of us, that means being able to work on more games than ever, with our existing publisher partners and beyond.”

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 65 facilities in 21 countries strategically located in Asia, the Americas and Europe, it provides integrated art creation, marketing services, software engineering, testing, localization, audio and customer care services across more than 50 languages and 16 games platforms to a blue-chip client base of over 950 clients across the globe.

Keywords Studios 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, Microsoft, Riot Games, Square Enix, Supercell, TakeTwo, Epic Games and Ubisoft. Recent titles worked on include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Anthem, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Valorant, League of Legends, Fortnite, Clash Royale and Doom Eternal. Keywords Studios is listed on AIM, the London Stock Exchange regulated market (KWS.L).

About Tantalus (www.tantalus.com.au)

Tantalus Media Pty Ltd is a top-tier, multi-award-winning game developer based in Melbourne, Australia. One of the longest established and most prolific developers in the region, Tantalus has worked on close to 100 games, in its 27 year history. Tantalus is a trusted partner of Nintendo, Microsoft and Paradox Interactive, among others. Notable franchises the studio has developed games for include: Age of EmpiresThe Legend of Zelda: Twilight PrincessCities Skylines, Sonic Mania and Mass Effect. 

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