Keywords Studios adds to its acquisitions portfolio with $32.5m deal

8 Jun 2022

Image: © monticellllo/

Keywords Studios is buying US-based games development studio Forgotten Empires, which employs 53 developers and generated revenue of $7.2m in 2021.

Irish company Keywords Studios is set to acquire games development studio Forgotten Empires in a deal worth up to $32.5m.

Founded in Dublin in 1998, Keywords Studios provides services to video games companies. It aims to establish itself as the ‘go-to’ technical and creative services platform for the global video games industry, and its clients include Activision Blizzard, Microsoft, Epic Games, Ubisoft, Konami and Electronic Arts.

Keywords’ decision to snap up Forgotten Studios comes following a spate of recent acquisitions spanning media companies, development studios and more throughout 2021 and 2020.

Last December, Keywords Studios added UK-based digital creative marketing agency Waste Collective and Melbourne-based games development studio Wicked Witch to its portfolio.

These deals followed a prolific 2020, during which the company purchased game developer High Voltage Software, as well as London-based PR agency Indigo Pearl and Italian recording studio Jinglebell Communications.

Forgotten Empires is headquartered in the US. It employs 53 game developers whose speciality is real time strategy games. The company has worked alongside many of the companies in Keywords Studios’ portfolio. Its list of gaming credits includes Microsoft’s franchise, Age of Empires.

According to Bertrand Bodson, CEO of Keywords Studios, “Forgotten Empires’ talented team brings experience and expertise particularly in real-time strategy games and will be a great addition to our client offering and game development capability.”

Bodson joined the games company as CEO in 2021 having come from global healthcare firm Novartis.

Forgotten Empires founder and studio head Ryan Shepherd said his company looked forward to working “more closely together with the wider Keywords’ group to drive the combined business forward”. He will remain head of studio.

Forgotten Empires generated revenue of $7.2m in 2021. It is expected to grow strongly in the current year.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Keywords Studios will pay a maximum amount of $32.5m. This will be made up of initial cash consideration of $15.75m, the equivalent of $3.75m in new ordinary shares to be issued one year post completion. ($2m of this figure is contingent on targets being met in the first six months from completion of the deal.)

It also includes up to $13m in a mix of cash and new ordinary shares based on growth targets being met over the year following completion of the deal.

The deal is subject to closing agreements. New ordinary shares in Keywords Studios to be issued following the deal are subject to one-year orderly market provisions.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.