Keywords announces €11.2 million acquisition of Ichi, Kantan and Syllabes

LONDON: Keywords Studios, the international technical and creative services provider to the global video games industry, has announced three acquisitions worth approximately €11.2 million.

Xcelerator Machine Translations Ltd (Kantan) acquired for a potential consideration of up to €7 million. Kantan is a leading developer of automated translation technology with its own Neural Network Machine translation engines, KantanMT, and a global crowdsourcing translation platform, KantanSkynet.

It licenses the technology and delivers development services to end user organisations such as eBay, VistaPrint and the European Commission as well as to language service providers.

Keywords is paying an initial consideration of €3.5 million in cash to the founder, Tony O’Dowd, and investors including Delta Partners and Enterprise Ireland and will issue 38,699 new ordinary shares in Keywords to Tony O’Dowd within 18 months from completion, which will then be subject to orderly market provisions for a further 12 months. The remaining €2.9 million consideration will become payable to Tony O’Dowd, in a mix of cash and shares, based upon performance targets for Kantan for the three years post completion.

Ichi Holdings Ltd (Ichi) acquired for a total consideration of £3.2 million. Founded in 2009, Ichi has 13 staff based in Holborn, London, providing a full suite of creative and marketing services to video game publishers, and to the sports and entertainment sectors globally.

It creates full brand marketing campaign strategies, as well as marketing assets such as game trailers, live action, social content, key marketing art and materials. These are deployed throughout the life span of its customers’ games and products.

The company works with major game publishers such as Square Enix, NaturalMotion, Deep Silver and Sports Interactive. Ichi also works with sports brands, such as Puma, and entertainment content companies including Netflix.

Liz Corless (the Seller) will continue as Ichi’s Studio Head, with the rest of the talented team remaining with the business.

Under the terms of the acquisition Keywords is paying an initial consideration of £2.24 million in cash and 70,247 new ordinary shares in Keywords will be issued to the Seller within 18 months of completion, which will then be subject to orderly market provisions for a further 12 months.

Acquisition of the assets of 9145-9115, Inc. (Syllabes) for a total potential cash consideration of up to CAD 475,000. Founded in 2004 in Montreal, Syllabes provides audio recording and casting services in French and English for the video-games industry, as well as for a wide range of media and entertainment customers. It also provides sound design services, audiobook recording services, and is well-known in Montreal for its Academy, a training school for local actors which specializes in teaching dubbing and voice acting.

Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords Studios commented: “We are delighted to have made three high calibre acquisitions.

“We have already been working with Kantan, which we previously selected as a commercial partner to underpin our machine translation initiatives in games, as its solutions are uniquely adaptable to the challenges of applying machine translation to video games. Video games are highly context specific, often being set in fantasy worlds, are highly immersive, and therefore require both high quality and highly adapted localisation, are multi branching and use real time, AI generated content.

“We look forward to working with the highly experienced and creative teams at Kantan, Ichi and Syllabes, to support their growth as part of the Keywords family as they, in turn, help us to build further upon our reputation as the leading provider of highly specialised video games services around the world.”

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