Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Keywords Studios PLC https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Keywords Studios PLC RSS feed en Mon, 22 Jul 2019 23:25:59 +0100 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Genera CMS action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[RNS press release - Issue of Shares ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190621070003_14119125/ Fri, 21 Jun 2019 07:00:03 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190621070003_14119125/ <![CDATA[News - Keywords snags new finance boss from FTSE 100 rat catcher Rentokil Initial ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/222199/keywords-snags-new-finance-boss-from-ftse-100-rat-catcher-rentokil-initial-222199.html Video games specialist Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) has snagged Jon Hauck as its new chief financial officer.

Hauck is currently the group financial controller at FTSE 100 pest control and hygiene giant Rentokil Initial PLC (LON:RTO) but will move to Keywords in November.

READ: Keywords acquires Canadian audio description firm

His appointment comes as incumbent CFO David Broderick steps down for personal reasons.

Broderick won’t be leaving just yet, though; he has agreed to stay on for the time being to ensure an orderly transition.

Keywords, one of the biggest companies on London’s AIM market, said it would provide an update on his official departure date in due course.

Hauck can help with M&A

“We are looking forward to Jon joining the group and taking his seat on the board of directors,” said Keywords chief executive Andrew Day.

“His experience at Rentokil Initial with its operations across 73 countries world-wide and its highly active M&A program will be extremely valuable to us as we continue to grow Keywords Studios both organically and by acquisition.”

He added: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank David for his valuable contribution to Keywords over the last three years.”

Keywords shares were down 6% to 1,514p on Monday afternoon, comfortably ahead of the 1,254p price target repeated by City broker Peel Hunt, which has the stock as a 'hold'.

--Adds share price and broker target--

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Mon, 17 Jun 2019 07:25:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/222199/keywords-snags-new-finance-boss-from-ftse-100-rat-catcher-rentokil-initial-222199.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Directorate Change ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190617070006_14112420/ Mon, 17 Jun 2019 07:00:06 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190617070006_14112420/ <![CDATA[Media files - Keywords moves into audio description services with DVW acquisition ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/13723/keywords-moves-into-audio-description-services-with-dvw-acquisition-13723.html Thu, 13 Jun 2019 09:41:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/13723/keywords-moves-into-audio-description-services-with-dvw-acquisition-13723.html <![CDATA[RNS press release - Correction - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190612153004_14108700/ Wed, 12 Jun 2019 15:30:04 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190612153004_14108700/ <![CDATA[News - Keywords acquires Canadian audio description firm Descriptive Video Works ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/221950/keywords-acquires-canadian-audio-description-firm-descriptive-video-works-221950.html Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) has acquired Vancouver-based audio description provider Descriptive Video Works Inc (DVW) from its founder Diane Johnson for around £1.9mln (C$3.2mln).

Founded in 2003, DVW has provided audio description services for broadcast and streamed programming including films, documentaries and series as well as live events such as the Olympics and Paralympics, for which it was the first company to provide real-time audio description.

WATCH: Keywords Studios takes its engineering division to Asia with Wizcorp acquisition

DVW has also worked with large US and Canadian media networks including NBC Universal, CBS, CBC, Viacom and A&E as well as streaming giant Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX).

Audio description is narrated, voice based descriptions of what is appearing on screen and is primarily for the benefit of visually impaired audiences, and is increasingly mandated by law in many territories.

Keywords chief executive Andrew Day said the firm had previously collaborated with DVW in 2018 on a transcription project for a major video game franchise and was “impressed” by the team’s capabilities.

He added that the acquisition would give Keywords its first studio in Vancouver, a city with a “very active involvement” in film, TV and video game development.

“We are looking forward to supporting the accessibility needs of the film, TV and video-games industry as these markets continue to develop.  Our voice over studios around the world will be looking at ways in which they can work with Diane and her team to bring audio description production to European, South American and Asian markets”, the CEO said.

In a note, analysts at Peel Hunt said the acquisition would “fit nicely” into Keywords’ services portfolio, maintaining their ‘hold’ rating and 1,254p price target on the stock.

After dipping back in early trading on Wednesday, Keywords shares rallied in the afternoon, adding 2.3% at 1,745p.

 -- Updates share price --

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Wed, 12 Jun 2019 08:46:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/221950/keywords-acquires-canadian-audio-description-firm-descriptive-video-works-221950.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Acquisition ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190612070006_14107286/ Wed, 12 Jun 2019 07:00:06 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190612070006_14107286/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Issue of Shares ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190604070005_14097005/ Tue, 04 Jun 2019 07:00:05 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190604070005_14097005/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Issue of Shares ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190530070001_14091552/ Thu, 30 May 2019 07:00:01 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190530070001_14091552/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190523123917_14085486/ Thu, 23 May 2019 12:39:17 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190523123917_14085486/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Result of AGM ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190520182548_14080788/ Mon, 20 May 2019 18:25:48 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190520182548_14080788/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Block Listing Return ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190514113002_14073323/ Tue, 14 May 2019 11:30:02 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190514113002_14073323/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190510163422_14070391/ Fri, 10 May 2019 16:34:22 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190510163422_14070391/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190508070005_14065674/ Wed, 08 May 2019 07:00:05 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190508070005_14065674/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190503162005_14063139/ Fri, 03 May 2019 16:20:05 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190503162005_14063139/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190502070005_14060243/ Thu, 02 May 2019 07:00:05 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190502070005_14060243/ <![CDATA[Media files - Keywords Studios takes its engineering division to Asia with Wizcorp acquisition ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/13117/keywords-studios-takes-its-engineering-division-to-asia-with-wizcorp-acquisition-13117.html Fri, 26 Apr 2019 12:24:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/13117/keywords-studios-takes-its-engineering-division-to-asia-with-wizcorp-acquisition-13117.html <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190423150011_14048805/ Tue, 23 Apr 2019 15:00:11 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190423150011_14048805/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Notice of AGM ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190423102506_14048247/ Tue, 23 Apr 2019 10:25:06 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190423102506_14048247/ <![CDATA[News - Keywords buys Japanese HTML5 specialist ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/218925/keywords-buys-japanese-html5-specialist-218925.html Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWD), the technical services provider to the global video games industry, has acquired Wizcorp for 120mln Japanese yen in cash.

Based in Tokyo, Wizcorp develops games on behalf of others, mainly for mobile devices. It has particular expertise in HTML5 – a hypertext mark-up language (HTML) used to create web pages - and other mobile technologies.

READ Keywords Studios profits jump 65% as acquisitions boost earnings in 2018

Wizcorp, which has annual revenues of around 310mln yen, was established in 2008 and has provided game development as a service to a wide variety of Japanese publishers and developers such as LINE, Square Enix, Avex, Yahoo Japan, and Bandai Namco, as well as undertaking game development for its parent company, Ankama.

Keywords is acquiring the company from Ankama SAS and Silicon Studio Corporation.

“Japan is one of the world's most significant game development hubs and has a long history in this industry. Keywords is excited at the opportunities Wizcorp will bring the group and its clients in the Japanese market as it becomes the latest member of our global Engineering service line,” said Christopher Kennedy, Keywords' regional managing director for Asia.

“Wizcorp's HTML5 expertise is a valuable extension to our console, mobile and PC games development skills, which is particularly interesting in the context of Snap's recent launch of its HTML5 based gaming platform,” Kennedy said.

In a note to clients, analysts at Peel Hunt pointed out that the Wizcorp annual revenue figure "implies revenue per employee of €71k, compared to KWS as a whole on €48k."

"However," the analysts added, "under its current ownership structure, it hasn’t been run as a profit centre – so this may reduce over time as it focuses more on costs. Keywords believes that under its ownership, it would be able to shift the business towards margins similar to its current underlying Engineering Service line."

Peel Hunt reiterated a 'hold' rating and 1,254p target price on Keyword shares, which in afternoon trading held steady at 1,470p.

 -- Adds analyst comment, share price --

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Tue, 23 Apr 2019 07:25:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/218925/keywords-buys-japanese-html5-specialist-218925.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Acquisition ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190423070007_14047491/ Tue, 23 Apr 2019 07:00:07 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190423070007_14047491/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Replacement - Final Results ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190411070010_14036863/ Thu, 11 Apr 2019 07:00:10 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190411070010_14036863/ <![CDATA[Media files - Keywords Studios makes 'promising' start to 2019 with strong demand ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/12911/keywords-studios-makes--promising--start-to-2019-with-strong-demand-12911.html Mon, 08 Apr 2019 13:15:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/12911/keywords-studios-makes--promising--start-to-2019-with-strong-demand-12911.html <![CDATA[News - Keywords Studios profits jump 65% as acquisitions boost earnings in 2018 ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/218119/keywords-studios-profits-jump-65-as-acquisitions-boost-earnings-in-2018-218119.html Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) reported a two-thirds increase in profits in its latest full year after a string of acquisitions helped it substantially boost earnings.

The AIM 100 firm, which provides support services to the video game industry, reported a 65% rise in adjusted pre-tax profit to €37.9mln for the year ended 31 December 2018, while revenues climbed 66% to €250.8mln.

READ: Keywords moves further into the cloud with acquisition of GetSocial

Like-for-like revenues were up 10.1% in the year with gross margins rising to 38.2% from 36.4%.

As a result of the improved performance, Keywords hiked its final dividend by 10% to 1.08p per share taking the full-year dividend to 1.61p from 1.46p previously.

The group was lifted by eight acquisitions during the year including game engineering firms Studio Gobo and Electric Square as well as AI and machine learning group Yokozuna Data.
The company had also kicked off the new year with two more acquisitions, having purchased marketing services group Sunny Side Up and social media management firm GetSocial post-year end.

Andrew Day, chief executive of Keywords, said apart from the new acquisitions the firm had started 2019 “promisingly” and was “actively reviewing” more purchases.

He added that the business was seeing “good overall demand” for its services, adding that there was a “likely increase in demand” expected from the arrival of games subscription and streaming services from tech giants Google and Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), who both announced subscription-based gaming services in March.

While capital expenditure was expected to be “lighter” than in 2018, Day said the firm wouldn’t hesitate to invest in growth as opportunities arose.

"Our strengthened market leadership and breadth and scale of service offering enable us to take advantage of the multiple growth opportunities afforded by a market that continues to grow in size and sophistication", Day said.

Broker ups target price expects “positive” industry news to benefit

In a note to clients, analysts at broker Liberum upped their target price for Keywords to 1,415p from 1,245p, saying the “positive news flow” around the video game industry over the past weeks was “likely to benefit” the firm.

The broker added that among the ongoing trends in the industry that could be good news for Keywords was the continuing popularity of online multiplayer video game Fortnite, for which the company does a “considerable” amount of work.

“Despite Fortnite not being as strong as it was a year ago, it remains an extremely large and successful franchise, with millions of players around the world… given its very large size, is an important franchise to have a foothold in”.

In early trading Monday, Keywords shares were down 1.1% at 1,305p.

--Adds broker change and share price--

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Mon, 08 Apr 2019 07:53:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/218119/keywords-studios-profits-jump-65-as-acquisitions-boost-earnings-in-2018-218119.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Final Results ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190408070007_14031663/ Mon, 08 Apr 2019 07:00:07 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190408070007_14031663/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190404132816_14029443/ Thu, 04 Apr 2019 13:28:16 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190404132816_14029443/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190327085139_14017479/ Wed, 27 Mar 2019 08:51:39 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190327085139_14017479/ <![CDATA[News - Keywords moves further into the cloud with acquisition of GetSocial ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/215013/keywords-moves-further-into-the-cloud-with-acquisition-of-getsocial-215013.html Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS), the technical services provider to the global video games industry, has got the cheque book out again.

It has acquired the assets and business of GetSocial, a company based in The Hague, Netherlands.

READ: Keywords eyes cloud-based gaming opportunities

GetSocial operates a cloud-based software platform that provides a comprehensive and robust suite of functions that enable games developers to manage all social interactions between their game, their players and their friends' networks.

GetSocial clients include mobile game companies such as Ubisoft Mobile Games, Sega, Truly Social Games and Kolibri Games.

GetSocial's team of 12 engineers led by the chief executive officer (CEO), Jeroen Bouman, and chief operating officer and founder, Viral Patel, are all joining Keywords.

Keywords said GetSocial is currently in a development phase, having invested ahead of building revenues, but it is expected to become profitable during 2020.

Andrew Day, the CEO of Keywords, said the acquisition extends the company’s technology base, “bringing to Keywords a leading edge capability built around the social interactions of players in games, which we hope to promote more widely and develop further”.

"As part of the group, GetSocial will work alongside both our engineering and marketing services teams. It will be fully supported by our worldwide sales team in introducing these capabilities to Keywords' game developer and publisher clients globally, for whom technology that supports social sharing is an important part of attracting and retaining gamers," Day said.

Check out our latest @GIBiz article where Fabio Minazzi, #Localization Service Line Director at Keywords Studios, provides insights on the benefits of partnering to localize video games. https://t.co/DVj8wp2JJz #GameDev #L10n

— Keywords Studios (@KeywordsStudios) February 18, 2019 ]]>
Thu, 21 Feb 2019 07:19:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/215013/keywords-moves-further-into-the-cloud-with-acquisition-of-getsocial-215013.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Acquisition ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190221070003_13976422/ Thu, 21 Feb 2019 07:00:03 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190221070003_13976422/ <![CDATA[Media files - Keywords Studios sees big opportunities in 2019 for cloud-based gaming ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/12090/keywords-studios-sees-big-opportunities-in-2019-for-cloud-based-gaming-12090.html Mon, 04 Feb 2019 11:10:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/12090/keywords-studios-sees-big-opportunities-in-2019-for-cloud-based-gaming-12090.html <![CDATA[News - Keywords eyes cloud-based gaming opportunities ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/213687/keywords-eyes-cloud-based-gaming-opportunities-213687.html Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) shares pushed higher on Thursday as the acquisitive computer game production services provider said 2018 was “another year of good organic growth and geographic expansion”.

The group, which has its head office in Ireland, expects full-year revenues for the year just ended to be at least €250mln, up from €151.4mln in 2017. Organic revenue growth clocked in at 10.1%.

WATCH: Keywords Studios sees big opportunities in 2019 for cloud-based gaming

Adjusted profit before tax, which excludes acquisition and integration expenses plus various other bits & bobs such as amortisation of intangibles, is expected to rise to around €37.8mln from €23.0mln the year before).

Adjusted earnings per share are expected to be around 47.0 cents, which would be an increase of 51% compared to the prior year’s figure of 31.18 cents.

The group finished the year with net debt of €400,000, compared to net cash a year earlier of €11.1mln, reflecting the group’s outlay on acquisitions.

The only fly in the ointment for Keywords was a weaker than expected performance from its Localisation Testing arm, where a number of titles that were expected to be launched in the quarter were delayed.

“Particularly exciting for us during the year has been our expansion into new areas including predictive analytics, music services, marketing services, sound design, and Hollywood-based voice production and writing services,” said Andrew Day, the chief executive officer of Keywords.

Keywords Studios - Trading update confirms LFL sales and cloud gaming drive - https://t.co/1IVupsv0Cb

— Davy Research (@DavyResearch) January 31, 2019

“As we look forward to another year of extending the ways in which we work with our video game developer and publisher clients, we are pleased to report that we are engaged on a number of projects with clients who are investing in the field of cloud-based gaming. This is an exciting development in the games market as a whole, as 5G mobile networks and expanded internet bandwidths allow for the emergence of platforms aiming to become the ‘Netflix of gaming’,” Day said.

“We expect this to create enhanced demand for both content, which would benefit most of our service lines, and for making games more accessible to more people in more territories, which would fuel demand for localisation in particular," he concluded.

In late morning trading, shares in Keyword Studios gained 8.3% at 1,170p.

 -- Adds share price --

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Thu, 31 Jan 2019 07:48:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/213687/keywords-eyes-cloud-based-gaming-opportunities-213687.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Trading Statement ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190131070009_13952729/ Thu, 31 Jan 2019 07:00:09 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190131070009_13952729/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190128182948_13949374/ Mon, 28 Jan 2019 18:29:48 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190128182948_13949374/ <![CDATA[News - Keywords Studios full year profits rise over 60% as it continues expansion ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/213433/keywords-studios-full-year-profits-rise-over-60-as-it-continues-expansion-213433.html Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) supplies a range of technical services to computer games developers and publishers.

Some of the services it provides include art services, software engineering, audio services, functionality quality assurance (QA), localisation (enabling games to be published in several languages), localisation QA, and player support.

Among its clients are Sega, Nintendo, Google, Microsoft and Warner Bros.

Established in 1998 it now has studios in more than 42 locations in 20 countries across four continents.

Keywords has a buy-and-build strategy and has been expanding rapidly since its first acquisition in 2014.

What Keywords owns

The list of what Keywords owns is long and will most likely to continue to grow as the company aims to make six small bolt-on acquisitions each year and one or two larger purchases.

Some of its businesses include; Babel Media, which provides testing services to game developers; Kite Team, a provider of localisation and audio services to Latin America and Spain; and Alchemic Dream, a Canada-based business that supplies multi-lingual customer support services to the video games industry.

Others include Reverb, a Brazilian firm that the provides localisation and audio management services to games developers; Volta, a Quebec-based firm that supplies major games companies with outsourced art creation services; and Enzyme Testing Labs, a Quebec business dedicated to the functional testing of applications and video games.

Sonox Audio Solutions is the group’s Spanish firm that supplies audio services to game developers.

In China, Keywords owns Mindwalk, which provides outsourced art creation services to the video games industry, and Red Hot CG, which specialises in the production of graphical art assets for video games.

In France, businesses include localisation firms Arsec SAS, La Marque Rose SARL, Dune Sound and Around the Word.

Elsewhere in Europe there is Synthesis, an Italian company that provides localisation, audio and testing services to the video games sector. Another Italian business includes Binari Sonori, which offers translation and voice-over services for games developers.

UK-wise, Keywords owns Liquid Violet, a voice production and casting studio; Player Research, a user testing and research consultancy;  SPOV,  a London-based animation and digital design firm; d3t, a video game software developer; and  XLOC, which develops a web-based content management system that can be integrated into any major 3D game engines.

Across the pond, GameSim is a US company specialising in outsourced video game localisation, art and sound, as well as providing live support services for gamers.

Other US-based firms are Sperasoft, which provides game development, art creation and software engineering services; video game art services company Liquid Development;  and VMC Consulting, a leading video games beta tester.

LOLA is a Mexican firm that provides Latin American Spanish dubbing, localisation and sound design services with clients including Warner Bros and Ubisoft.

Last year Keywords continued to expand through acquisitions by purchasing Sao Paulo audio studio Maximal Studio, music composition firm Cord Worldwide Limited, music services business Laced Music Ltd, arts services firm Fire Without Smoke and audio company Blindlight.

It also bought creative and technical services provider Snowed In Studios, artificial intelligence firm Yokozuna Data, engineering services businesses Electric Square and Studio Gobo, art services provider The TrailerFarm and Sunny Side Up Creative, which supplies marketing services such as game trailers.

In the first quarter of 2019, Keywords bought Dutch-based cloud software platform GetSocial, which provides a comprehensive and robust suite of functions that enable games developers to manage all social interactions between their game, their players and their friends' networks.

More recently, it has added Japanese mobile games developer Wizcorp and Canadian audio description firm Descriptive Video Works to its ever-growing ranks.

Inflection points: In its full year results for the year ended 31 December 2018, Keywords posted a full-year adjusted pre-tax profit of €37.9mln with revenues of €250.8mln, representing increases of 65% and 66% on the prior year, respectively The company hiked its final dividend by 10% to 1.08p per share taking the full year dividend to 1.61p from 1.46p previously Andrew Day, the company’s chief executive, said the firm had started the new fiscal year “promisingly” and was “actively reviewing” more purchases New chief financial officer Jon Hauck will join from FTSE 100 giant Rentokil Initial PLC (LON:RTO) in November Blue Sky

Looking to the future, Day said the business was seeing “good overall demand” for its services, adding that there was a “likely increase in demand” expected from the arrival of games subscription and streaming services from tech giants Google and Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), who both announced subscription-based gaming services in March.

"Our strengthened market leadership and breadth and scale of service offering enable us to take advantage of the multiple growth opportunities afforded by a market that continues to grow in size and sophistication", he added.

What analysts think

Following the company’s full year results, analysts at broker Liberum upped their target price for Keywords to 1,415p from 1,245p, saying the “positive news flow” around the video game industry over the past weeks was “likely to benefit” the firm.

The broker added that among the ongoing trends in the industry that could be good news for Keywords was the continuing popularity of online multiplayer video game Fortnite, for which the company does a “considerable” amount of work.

“Despite Fortnite not being as strong as it was a year ago, it remains an extremely large and successful franchise, with millions of players around the world… given its very large size, is an important franchise to have a foothold in”.

With shares trading at around 1,570p as of 17 June 2019, Keywords carries a market cap of £1.01bn.

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Mon, 28 Jan 2019 07:51:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/213433/keywords-studios-full-year-profits-rise-over-60-as-it-continues-expansion-213433.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Issue of Shares ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190118070003_13938883/ Fri, 18 Jan 2019 07:00:03 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190118070003_13938883/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190107172705_13926478/ Mon, 07 Jan 2019 17:27:05 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190107172705_13926478/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Completion of the acquisition of Sunny Side Up ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190104070003_13923554/ Fri, 04 Jan 2019 07:00:03 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20190104070003_13923554/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20181224070007_13914232/ Mon, 24 Dec 2018 07:00:07 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20181224070007_13914232/ <![CDATA[News - Keywords trading in line; makes bolt-on acquisition for C$5.9mln ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/211637/keywords-trading-in-line-makes-bolt-on-acquisition-for-c59mln-211637.html Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) said it is trading in line with market expectations as it announced another of its typical bolt-on acquisitions.

The company, which provides services to computer game developers, is to acquire Sunny Side Up Creative from its founder, Thomas Giroux, for C$5.9mln, of which C$4.75mln in being paid in cash, with the rest satisfied through the issue of Keywords shares.

READ Keywords Studios confident of meeting expectations as it hits the acquisition trail again

Based in Quebec City, Canada, Sunny Side Up produces marketing assets for game publishers and developers including game trailers, key art assets and motion graphic production, Keywords said.

The acquisition will complement and build on Keywords' game trailer and marketing services offering provided by Fire Without Smoke, The TrailerFarm and its other art services studios.

In the year to the end of September 2018. Sunny Side Up produced positive underlying earnings of C$1.2mln.

“Following our acquisitions of Fire Without Smoke and The TrailerFarm, Sunny Side Up's high-quality game trailers, technical expertise and marketing service experience further extends the Group's geographic, client reach and scale in this relatively new and exciting area for Keywords,” said Andrew Day, the chief executive officer of Keywords.

"As part of the group, Sunny Side Up will be able to leverage our well-established presence in Montreal and Quebec City to support its continued growth,” Day added.

The company is set to provide a trading update before the end of January but informed the market that it expects full-year adjusted profit before tax to be around €37mln on revenues that will be in the region of €250mln.

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Fri, 21 Dec 2018 07:41:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/211637/keywords-trading-in-line-makes-bolt-on-acquisition-for-c59mln-211637.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Acquisition of Sunny Side Up and Trading Update ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20181221070002_13912352/ Fri, 21 Dec 2018 07:00:02 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20181221070002_13912352/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20181207092429_13895654/ Fri, 07 Dec 2018 09:24:29 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20181207092429_13895654/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20181204112859_13890882/ Tue, 04 Dec 2018 11:28:59 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20181204112859_13890882/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Block Listing Return ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20181109171749_13862362/ Fri, 09 Nov 2018 17:17:49 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20181109171749_13862362/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Issue of Shares ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20180928133013_13809287/ Fri, 28 Sep 2018 13:30:13 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20180928133013_13809287/ <![CDATA[News - Investment bank Citi ups price target for Keywords Studios to £21.50 ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/205224/investment-bank-citi-ups-price-target-for-keywords-studios-to-2150-205224.html ‘Bulge bracket’ investment bank Citi has hiked its price target and repeated its ‘buy’ recommendation for video games services specialist Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS).

On Tuesday, AIM-listed Keywords, which is valued at £1.2bn, reported a surge in half-year revenue and adjusted profits.

READ: Keywords hits the acquisition trail again

The company also unveiled its latest acquisition, this time of renowned Hollywood sound designer, Scott Gershin and his Sound Lab team.

Closer to home, it also announced the purchase of Brighton-based trailers maker The TrailerFarm. The two acquisitions mean Keywords has been 11 so far in 2018.

Citi analysts moved their price target up to £21.50, citing “higher acquisition assumption”.

WATCH: Keywords boss on excellent first-half

They said: “We increase our annual revenue contribution from acquisitions to €35mln, which results in an increase to our acquisition upside valuation to £5.65.

“This compares to an average of c.€40m since listing in FY14 and is in line with the mid-point guidance range for bolt on acquisitions, excluding any larger transactions.”

Citi also noted the expansion of the workforce – Keywords has recently added 660 new workstations – as a “lead indicator of growth momentum”.

Keywords shares were down 0.6% to 1,882p early on Wednesday afternoon.

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Wed, 19 Sep 2018 12:40:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/205224/investment-bank-citi-ups-price-target-for-keywords-studios-to-2150-205224.html
<![CDATA[Media files - Keywords Studios reports 'excellent' first half; acquires UK-based Trailerfarm ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/10505/keywords-studios-reports-excellent-first-half-acquires-uk-based-trailerfarm-10505.html Tue, 18 Sep 2018 08:28:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/10505/keywords-studios-reports-excellent-first-half-acquires-uk-based-trailerfarm-10505.html <![CDATA[News - Keywords Studios confident of meeting expectations as it hits the acquisition trail again ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/205102/keywords-studios-confident-of-meeting-expectations-as-it-hits-the-acquisition-trail-again-205102.html Renowned Hollywood sound designer, Scott Gershin and his Sound Lab team, have joined Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS), the technical services provider, from Technicolor.

Sound Lab is a leader in the video game and immersive entertainment market (virtual reality/augmented reality, or VR/AR) and provides sound services for movies and streaming (over the top - OTT content). In support of the Sound Lab team joining the group, Keywords is investing in new, state of the art production equipment to fit out a sound design studio in “beautiful downtown” Burbank that is already occupied by Sound Lab.

Strong results from KWS as trailed in last month's trading update. Sound Lab to join KWS and one acquisition announced.

— Philip (@Glawsphilip) September 18, 2018

With more than 30 years' experience in sound design, Scott Gershin and his team have been credited on an extensive list of bestselling video games including the likes of Final Fantasy XV, Resident Evil and Gears of War, and have worked on projects for Riot, Capcom, Activision, Infinity Ward, Amazon and a host of others.

At Keywords, Gershin will also be continuing his work in the film and broadcast industry.

WATCH: Keywords Studios reports 'excellent' first half; acquires UK-based Trailerfarm

Closer to home, Keywords has acquired The TrailerFarm Ltd, a Brighton-based company that produces trailers for the marketing and support of video games.

The acquisition will complement Keywords' recently-acquired Fire Without Smoke marketing services business in producing high impact, cost-effective trailers for a broad range of games.

Keywords is paying up to £2mln for TrailerFarm, which in the year to the end of June 2018 posted revenues of £1mln and adjusted EBITDA of £165,000. The initial consideration of £1mln is being settled largely in cash (£790,000), with the remainder satisfied by the issue to the vendors of 11,070 new Keywords shares.

READ: Keywords Studios buys video game trailers specialist for £5.2mln

The acquisition announcements accompanied the group’s half-year results that largely rubber-stamped last month’s first-half trading update.

Revenue, including contributions from acquisitions, increased by 72% to €110.0mln in the first half of 2018 from €63.8mln in the corresponding period of 2017. On a constant currency basis, the increase was 84%.

Stripping out the effect of acquisitions, revenue rose 2% on a like-for-like basis, or by 8.6% when stripping out currency fluctuations.

Adjusted profit before tax rose 67% to €16.0mln from €9.6mln the year before.

READ: Keywords Studios delivers profit growth of over 60% in first half

Net cash at the end of June stood at €0.1mln, down from €11.1mln at the end of 2017, reflecting the €10.6mln laid out on acquisitions.

Followers of Keywords will not be surprised to learn that the group is selectively reviewing a strong acquisition pipeline.

The interim dividend has been increased by 10% to 0.53p from 0.48p the year before.

Trading in the second half has been good and Keywords expects to meet market expectations for the full year before the positive impact of any additional acquisitions.

"In a period in which the gaming phenomenon, Fortnite, had a significant impact on the games market and in which the US dollar, which represented 54% of our revenues, declined by 12% compared to the same period in 2017, we have none the less delivered yet another strong set of results for the first six months of 2018 as we continue to deepen and broaden the business for the future,” said Andrew Day, the chief executive officer of Keywords.

Fortnite the reason for hundreds of divorces, website says https://t.co/eRCWSPw5Ne pic.twitter.com/8dCGv9XqQA

— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) September 18, 2018

"Our continued organic investment and acquisitions have extended our geographical reach, added further scale to our existing service lines, and broadened the range of capabilities we can offer our clients to include co-development, analytics, music, marketing services and sound effects,” Day continued.

"We are particularly pleased with our performance in respect of acquisitions and their subsequent integration. Our largest acquisition to date, VMC, which was absorbed into the group with a track record of reducing revenues and an operating margin of 9.1% in October 2017, has been fully integrated and the resulting synergies are already significantly enhancing operating margins as can be seen by the overall group profit margin of 14.5%. We are confident of being able to return it to revenue growth in the near to medium term,” Day declared.

READ: Keywords Studios into the major leagues with VMC acquisition

"The games market is starting to focus on the prospect of games being streamed and played live across all connected devices. Advances in technology and increases in internet bandwidth including the forthcoming 5G mobile networks and the resultant reduction in latency of communications could enable streaming of games for the first time, which we believe will drive record demand for gaming content. We are excited by the prospect of assisting the industry in creating and repurposing content for this new medium over the coming years and Keywords is already working on interactive streaming content and porting games to upcoming streaming platforms,” Day said.

House broker Numis Securities is leaving its full-year numbers unchanged after the half-year update.

“Despite, as previously announced, somewhat slower organic growth in H1 [first half], management remains comfortable with market expectations for the year. This would mean CCY [constant currency] organic growth for the year of c.13%, or close to 18% ex VMC, demonstrating ongoing market share gain within an already attractive market,” Numis said, as it reiterated its “scenario-based” price target of 2,420p.

The broker noted that Keywords’ management believes that the global popularity of Fortnite has had a negative influence on customer spending in the period as customers adjust their development schedules.

“With these results, the group has announced the up-to-£2mln acquisition of Trailerfarm, a UK-based video game trailer company. The initial £1mln consideration is 1x revenue, 6x EBITDA,” Numis reported.

“We understand that the earn-out requires a substantial improvement in profits. At less than 0.5% of 2019 group revenue and profits, we have not adjusted forecasts,” it advised.

Like Numis, Peel Hunt believes the projected full-year numbers are “very achievable”, with the second half of the year set to benefit from a strengthening dollar, a six-month contribution from companies acquired in the first half of the year, a management team with greater capacity and a greater contribution from higher-margin businesses.

Shares in Keywords were down 8p at 1,896p in lunchtime trading.

 

--- Adds broker comment and video interview with the CEO; updates share price reaction ---

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Tue, 18 Sep 2018 08:09:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/205102/keywords-studios-confident-of-meeting-expectations-as-it-hits-the-acquisition-trail-again-205102.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Acquisition ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20180918070020_13794064/ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 07:00:20 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20180918070020_13794064/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Half-year Report ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20180918070014_13794033/ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 07:00:14 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20180918070014_13794033/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Notice of Results ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20180830070014_13772247/ Thu, 30 Aug 2018 07:00:14 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/722/LSE20180830070014_13772247/