Friday 24 November 2017

Keywords Studios' bosses 'locked in' following €70m stock-market float

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Management and top insiders at €70m-valued Irish videogame firm Keywords Studios, which floated last week in London, are subject to a lock-in agreement, which restricts them from selling shares for a year.

Keywords Studios, set up in Dublin in 1998, raised €32.5m when placing over 56 per cent of the firm's shares at a price of £1.23 per share. Shares rose nearly 20 per cent on the first day of trading.

"The Selling Shareholders and Founders have undertaken with the Company (subject to certain exceptions) not to dispose of any interest in any of their Ordinary Shares until the first anniversary of Admission," according to Keywords' prospectus. "The parties have further undertaken to observe certain orderly market restrictions with respect to the disposal of such Ordinary Shares in the period of 12 months."

Prior to the flotation, some 75.1 per cent of the company shares were owned by PEQ Holdings, a firm associated with founders Giorgio Guastalla, Giacomo Duranti and Marco De Sanctis. Chief executive Andrew Day held 24.9 per cent. These holdings were diluted with the IPO, with PEQ now owning a 29.9 per cent stake and Andrew Day having 13.2 per cent. Cazenove Capital Management picked up a 12 per cent stake with fund manager Artemis and Legal & General also picking up hefty stakes.

Keywords works with some of the best-known videogame companies in the world like Microsoft, Namco Bandai, Konami, Electronic Arts, and Square Enix. The firm helps to "localise" video games by translating the language and cultural references of the games for other audiences across the world. The company is set to use the proceeds from the IPO to fund an expansion drive.

Keywords' successful flotation on London's AIM market is the latest venture by an Irish company on to the stock markets. Last week, the Sunday Independent revealed that Cork shipping company Ardmore was seeking to raise up to €125m in a US IPO.

Paul Coulson's Ardagh Group, Eddie O'Connor's Mainstream Renewables and Liam Casey's PCH International are all thought to be moving towards listings.

Irish Independent

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