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Keywords Studios raises £100mln to boost acquisition strategy

The video game services firm said the pandemic had placed stress on smaller providers, offering an opportunity to "continue its acquisition strategy of high quality businesses”

Keywords Studios PLC - Keywords Studios raises £100mln to boost acquisition strategy

Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) has raised £100mln via a share placing to leverage what it said was a “unique opportunity” to continue its acquisition strategy.

The video game services firm said it had raised the funds through the issue of 6.9mln new shares at a price of 1,450p each, a 5.8% discount to its closing price on Thursday.

READ: Keywords Studios highlights ‘increased demand’ for development services as coronavirus drives surge in video gaming

Announcing its placing plans after Thursday’s close, Keywords said while the coronavirus pandemic had increased the amount of video game playing, driving continued demand for content and for its own services, it was expecting to see “some stress in predominantly smaller service providers, which are typically single location and service with fewer clients and less able to weather the disruption”.

As a result, the company added there was an opportunity for its to “ leverage its position as the market leader to continue its acquisition strategy of high-quality businesses, increasing scale and capability and further accelerating growth”.

Keywords said the funds raised in the placing will enable it to maintain a strong balance sheet “without constraining its acquisition strategy when prospects for attractive M&A opportunities have rarely been higher”.

The firm also provided a brief update on its current trading, reporting that despite greater pandemic disruption in the second half of March, revenues in March and April were 7% above the same two months of 2019 while the group had also gradually increased the operational capacity of its testing service into May.

Keywords said it expected revenue “to improve incrementally” as its testing businesses increased the number of staff working from home and its audio business gained access to studios for voice over recording as the lockdowns ease.

“The resilience of the video games industry to economic downturns and the continued strong demand for the group's services from its clients, combined with the group's flexible cost base, geographical diversification, broad range of services, financial strength and revenues from long-standing client relationships position the group well for this uncertain period and will see the group emerge in a strong position”, Keywords said in its statement.

Quick facts: Keywords Studios PLC

Price: 2185 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £1.61 billion


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