Irish games firm buys Chinese company

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Irish-founded computer games services firm Keywords Studios has extended its presence in Asia with the $6m (€5.3m) purchase of Shanghai-based company Strongbox.

Strongbox trades as Red Hot, has bases in China and Indonesia and is a specialist in the production of graphical art for use in video games. The company had profits of $900,000 last year and revenues of $5.4m and is targeting further strong growth this year. Its clients include Sony and leading game developers Bethesda and Capcom.

Its purchase further enhances Keywords’ range of services, according to chief executive Andrew Day.

“Following the acquisition we believe the Keywords Art Service line is the leading player in the outsourced market in terms of capacity and breadth of service.”

The Red Hot deal marks Keywords’ fourth acquisition this year and its third in May, alone, and continues its recent trend for aggressively growing via takeovers. A push into the Americas in 2015, via a €9m spend on three acquisitions, was followed up last year with eight more acquisitions – including a concerted push into Asia – worth a combined spend of over €33m.

Already this year, the Dublin company - which ‘localises’, or translates language and cultural references in computer games for some of the industry’s biggest players in different international markets – has spent nearly €12m on bolt-on deals.

Of the $6m consideration for Strongbox/Red Hot, Keywords will pay $4.35m upfront and defer $1m for three years and pay the remainder in shares.


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