03 July 2024

Keywords Studios agrees £2.1bn takeover in further blow to London market

03 July 2024

Video games developer Keywords Studios has backed a £2.1 billion takeover offer in a move that will see yet another London-listed firm being taken private.

Dublin-based Keywords, which is listed on London’s junior Aim market, has backed a cash bid worth £24.50 a share from Swedish private equity firm EQT.

The bid price – worth £2.2 billion including debts – marks a 66.7% premium to Keywords’ closing share price on May 17.

It is also higher than the initial proposal, but lower than a £25.50 approach put forward in May.

The board believes that this offer represents a good opportunity for Keywords Studios shareholders to realise value for their investment in cash upfront at a significant premium

Keywords Studios chairman Don Robert said: “Whilst the board expects the continued execution of Keywords Studios’ strategic objectives and its leadership position to create significant value, the board is also mindful of the near-term challenges in the broader video games and entertainment industries, as well as other longer-term uncertainties, which have caused volatile returns for Keywords Studios’ shareholders over the past 15 months.

“On balance, the board believes that this offer represents a good opportunity for Keywords Studios shareholders to realise value for their investment in cash upfront at a significant premium.”

The takeover will deal yet another blow to the London Stock Exchange, which has seen a raft of firms being taken private or switching their listings overseas.

EQT previously made four unsolicited takeover proposals for Keywords, which had been rejected by the company.

Keywords provides services used in blockbuster games including Fortnite and Assassin’s Creed.

It was set up in 1998 and now has operations in 26 countries across Europe, Asia and Australia.

Video games developer Keywords Studios has backed a £2.1bn takeover offer from Swedish private equity firm EQT (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)

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