Ashurst advises on £2.1bn takeover of Keywords Studios Plc

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    Global law firm Ashurst is advising J.P. Morgan Cazenove on the £2.1bn takeover of Keywords Studios Plc (Keywords Studios) by Houting UK Limited (Bidco), a newly formed company indirectly wholly-owned by EQT's BPEA Fund VIII. J.P. Morgan Cazenove is acting as financial adviser to Bidco.

    Keywords Studios is a global provider of fully integrated creative and technology-enabled solutions to the video games and entertainment industries. Established in 1998, and now with over 70 facilities in 26 countries strategically located in Asia, Australia, the Americas, and Europe, it provides services across the entire content development life cycle through its Create, Globalize and Engage divisions to a large blue-chip client base across the globe.

    EQT has a long and positive track record investing in the services and global technology industries. EQT is a leading services investor, with US$33.7 billion invested to date into 88 services portfolio investments globally with 33 exits across M&A and IPOs. EQT also has deep expertise investing in technology globally. Over the years, EQT has invested US$37.0 billion into 116 technology portfolio investments globally with 35 exits through the public and private markets.

    The acquisition values the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Keywords Studios at approximately £2.1 billion on a fully diluted basis, and implies an enterprise value of approximately £2.2 billion and a multiple of approximately 15.9 times Keywords Studios' adjusted EBITDA for the 12-month period ended 31 December 2023 of £139 million.

    The Ashurst team is being led by partners Tom Mercer and Tim Rennie, supported by counsel Darren Phelan, senior associate Colin Bugler and associates Sandile Sibya and Patrick Chambers.