Leading games developer and publisher Team17 secures £16.5m investment from LDC

Team17, the market-leading games developer and publisher best known for the popular Worms franchise, has secured a £16.5million investment from mid-market private equity firm LDC to fuel its expansion.  

With a 25-year heritage in developing games, retailing and publishing, Team17 creates and sells a range of successful titles worldwide through major digital distributors such as Sony, Microsoft, Steam, Apple and Google. The business also works closely with third party developers to help bring their products to market, such as the highly-anticipated Yooka-Laylee game from Playtonic.

Founded in 1991 and headquartered in Wakefield and Nottingham, Team17 is led by CEO and founder Debbie Bestwick MBE and finance director Paul Bray. With more than 25 years’ industry experience, Debbie and Paul have driven significant growth across the company in recent years with revenues growing by more than 50 per cent to £10.3million in 2015. Debbie and her management team remain the majority shareholders of Team17.

The deal will enable Team17 to expand its existing games portfolio through a number of planned new releases, develop its publication model, and support its growth overseas.

As part of the transaction, Team17 has also acquired Mouldy Toof Studios, the developer behind the popular prison break game, The Escapists. The acquisition marks the continued diversification of company’s games portfolio and demonstrates its commitment to drive further growth through product partnerships and strategic acquisitions.

Growth across the industry continues to be driven by developments in technology, the release of new consoles and increased consumer demand, with the global digital gaming industry now estimated to be worth $50billion.

The transaction was led by John Garner, Dale Alderson and Dan Smith at LDC in Leeds. John and Dale will join the board as non-executive directors.

Commenting on the deal, Debbie Bestwick said: “In LDC we have a partner that not only shares our vision, but also understands the importance of people to our business model. People are the foundation of the gaming industry and as both a developer and a publisher, it’s incredibly important that we continue to nurture new talent and fully support our partners, helping to grow sustainable studios and create successful IP.

“With LDC’s investment and support, we’re now in an even stronger position to continue our growth strategy. The team’s experience of supporting businesses that work overseas means they’re well-placed to help us continue bringing the best games to the global market, and with a number of launches in the pipeline we’re set for a busy few months. This is an exciting time for Team17, and I’m looking forward to working together with LDC as we take our business to the next level.”

John Garner, director and head of LDC in Yorkshire & the North East, added: “Team17 exemplifies the best of the UK gaming industry, and its unique business model and continued focus on innovative product development has seen Debbie and her management team build an extremely successful company. We are delighted to support the business during its next stage of growth and development.”

Team17 was advised by Stephen Moore, David Keenan and Charles Gray at PwC, and Paul Mann, Jayne Aarons and Hannah Graham at Squire Patton Boggs. Financial due diligence was led by Joel Smith at PwC and Debbie Jackson at Walker Morris provided legal advice to LDC on the transaction.

Notes to Editors

  1. LDC is the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  
  2. LDC backs ambitious management teams from UK-based medium sized companies seeking up to £100m of investment to fund management buyouts or development capital transactions.
  3. LDC invests in a broad range of sectors and has particular experience in Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure, Support Services, Construction & Property and Financial Services.
  4. LDC has a UK regional network with locations in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Reading.