Richards Butler lands first Microsoft acquisition remit on Lionhead deal

Richards Butler has scooped the lead advisory role for Microsoft Game Studios on its takeover of UK company Lionhead Studios. It is the first time the firm has acted for Microsoft on an acquisition.

Corporate partner David Boutcher and associate Mike Young led the firm’s team on the complex deal, which required a split offering to major venture capital shareholders and the remaining shareholders.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

Young told The Lawyer that the firm had represented Microsoft Game Studios before, but never on an acquisition by the company.

“It was quite complicated because the transaction involved about 150 shareholders,” Young said. “We’ve done work for Microsoft in the past, but this is the first acquisition we’ve worked on, which was obviously an excellent opportunity for us.

“The deal was turned around in a relatively short space of time – just over two months.”

SJ Berwin acted on behalf of Lionhead Studios’ shareholders. The team was led by corporate partner Mark Sanders.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lionhead Studios will create content exclusively for the Xbox 360 and Windows platforms. The companies previously worked together on the role-playing games Fable and Fable: The Lost Chapters.

Lionhead Studios is the latest in a line of studios to join with Microsoft Game Studios. Others include Bungie Studios, Ensemble Studios, FASA and Rare.