Leading technical and creative services provider Keywords Studios has agreed to buy game developer Forgotten Empires.
Headquartered in Ohio, United States, Forgotten Empires is well-known for developing strategy games, including Microsoft’s classic series Age of Empires.
Forgotten Empires disclosed that Keywords Studios is willing to pay a maximum of $32.5 million for the acquisition. According to the deal, Keywords will pay $15.75 million in cash up front and 3.75 million in shares. An additional $13 million in cash and shares will be paid based on performance milestones if the business hits certain targets.
Keywords’ purchase furthers its aim to become the “go-to” technical and creative services platform for the video games industry worldwide.
Forgotten Empires founder Ryan Shepherd will continue leading the company and its 53 staff under the new management.
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, the founder of Forgotten Empires, said, “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.”
This is Keywords Studios’ first major acquisition this year. In December 2021, Keywords purchased Melbourne-based game studio Wicked Witch for $6.5 million. The same month it also acquired London-based marketing agency Waste Creative for around $12.9 million.
In other news, Saudi-based company Savvy Gaming Group bought an 8.1% minority stake in Swedish holding company Embracer Group in a deal worth $1 billion.
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