Firm behind hit game Worms to raise over £100m after float

Team17 is best known for its hit game Worms
Team17 is best known for its hit game Worms
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Video games developer Team17​​, best known for its hit game Worms,​ ​reported strong demand from investors for its share placing which will value the firm at £217m when it floats on AIM next Wednesday. ​

The Wakefield-based firm said ​the flotation is great news for its Yorkshire employees and ​it has ​promised to expand its operations in the region.​

The placing will raise around £107.5m and £59.4m has been raised for the selling shareholders. Debbie Bestwick, the firm's founder and chief executive, will retain a substantial shareholding in the company amounting to around 22 per cent and LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, will retain a shareholding of 17 per cent.

Together, the management team and employees will hold around 31 per cent of the company.

The ​d​irectors ​said the IPO will enable the ​c​ompany to invest in its future expansion,​ ​enhance its profile and incentivise key employees.

T​eam17 said the ​p​lacing saw strong demand from institutional investors ​and​ the book ​was ​covered multiple times.

Ms Bestwick said the firm is committed to its Yorkshire headquarters and it will keep its head office in Wakefield after the float.

“We absolutely plan to expand Wakefield,” she said.

“This float is really important to maintain our independence. It’s very good news for our employees and our team has been incredibly supportive.”

Team17 is a leading video games label and creative partner for independent developers around the world.

The group focuses on premium, rather than free to play games, and its portfolio includes over 90 games, including the iconic and well-established Worms franchise, as well as Overcooked and The Escapists.

​“​This flo​tation​ is​​ about building our brand on a global basis,” said Ms Bestwick.

“It’s also a way to incentivise people.”

The firm employs 120 people in Wakefield and a further 20 in the Midlands and the plan is to increase the headcount as the firm expands.

​The float was only available to institutional investors, but the firm believes customers will be keen to buy shares after the firm launches on AIM.

​Team17 offers a range of resources to development partners​ and​ has built an award​-​winning in-house team in Wakefield.

The ​firm ​said it ​is able to tailor its level of engagement with developers and creators to deliver a bespoke service to each of its partners.

Since launching its premium games label in 2014, Team17 has delivered a revenue ​compound annual growth rate of 69 per cent, with revenues increasing to £29.6m last year from £13.5m in 2016 and adjusted earnings rising from £6.1m to £12.9m in 2017.

The ​group has an international footprint and ​said it has ​a diverse revenue base, with no ​dependency on a ​single title​ ​or sales platform​. It also has an experienced management team led ​Ms Bestwick, who has over​ ​30 years of experience in the gaming sector. ​The s​enior management team ​has​ over 140 years’ combined experience and ​said it has built up ​strong relationships​ ​across all key platforms including Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Steam, Apple and Google​.

The firm added that it has a strong pipeline of new game launches planned for 2018, ​such as Yoku’s Island Express, Genesis​ ​Alpha One, Raging Justice, My Time at Portia, Planet Alpha, Forged Battalion​.

The global gaming market was valued at ​£77​​bn in 2017, and is projected to grow at 7.3​ per cent​​ ​​compound annual growth rate from 2017 to 2021.​