Thursday 23 May 2019

Keywords continues spending spree with Japanese deal

Keywords Studios, headed by CEO Andrew Day, has made a string of acquisitions and saw revenue jump 66pc last year.
Keywords Studios, headed by CEO Andrew Day, has made a string of acquisitions and saw revenue jump 66pc last year.
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Irish video-game company Keywords Studios has acquired Japanese group Wizcorp for JPY120m (€953,000).

Wizcorp, which is owned by Ankama, develops games on behalf of others, mainly in the mobile space, with particular expertise in HTML5 and other mobile technologies.

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Joe Quinn, analyst at Davy Stockbrokers, said it was a "strong" deal for Keywords, whose CEO is Andrew Day. "Keywords management has highlighted its focus on increased acquisitions within engineering and this acquisition does just that," Mr Quinn said.

Wizcorp employs 35 people and has annual revenues of JPY310m (€2.4m).

The Tokyo-based group has yet to turn a profit. However, the acquisition is in keeping with the Irish company's plans to increase its engineering arm, providing it with a platform for expansion in Japan's games development market - one of the largest in the world.

Keywords Studios regional MD Asia Christopher Kennedy said: "We are thrilled to welcome the Wizcorp team to join our fast-growing operations in Tokyo, where we already employ 300 people.

"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."

Wizcorp 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, and Yahoo Japan.

In addition, it has undertaken game development for its parent company, Ankama.

Last year Keywords purchased eight companies, and the group has plans to buy a similar number this year, with a focus on marketing, engineering and audio companies.

In 2018 the group saw its revenue jump 66pc to €250.8m. On a like-for-like basis revenue increased 10pc last year.

Irish Independent

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