MBO for Deep Red

MBO for Deep Red
Michael French

By Michael French

March 16th 2007 at 3:15PM

The director of UK-based Deep Red Games, Clive Robert, has acquired the studio from its Asian owner to secure an independent future – although the move has meant some staff cutbacks.

Located in Milton Keynes, Deep Red was opened in 1998 by Clive Robert and Kevin Buckner. In its nine years of business the studio produced the likes of Monopoly Tycoon, Tycoon City: New York.

In 2004, the studio entered a joint venture agreement with Bangladesh Online (BOL) that helped the two build a production team in Asia. In time, its Dakar-based studio grew to 100 staff while the UK base rose to nearly 50.

But MD Robert today told Develop that due to BOL's continual growth and "sprawling size" he took the decision to move away from the parent company and buy back the studio.

This return to total independence has come with a price: the buy-out has meant 25 jobs have gone from the UK crew to make sure it remains a viable business. The studio now has a headcount of 20.

Talking to Develop, Robert was keen to quash reports that the studio was preparing to close: "Everything here is good, but things are very different. I'm excited by what's in store."

Deep Red currently has two projects in the works, both of which are already signed to publishers.

Robert also issued a statement fleshing out Deep Red's motivations: “Acquiring the UK studio and its wealth of experience in the Social Simulation and Tycoon genre has given us an excellent opportunity to focus the team into a smaller creative powerhouse that is not bound by the larger corporate issues of the previous group.

"We’ve refocused and resized the company to better fit our current and forthcoming commitments and as part of that process I’m really excited about what the future holds for us, we have a great deal of talent in this company and will be making our mark as very soon with games launches planned just a few months away in April and May of this year."