Video game firm seals major investment deal to fund growth plans

Mar 09, 2021

A COMPANY working in the booming video game industry has secured a major investment from private equity investors.

Phoenix Equity Partners has agreed to back the growth and international expansion plans of Universally Speaking, a business based in Bedfordshire that provides leading video game industry clients with end-to-end services including quality assurance, playtesting, audio and localisation services.

Founder and chief executive Vickie Peggs has made a substantial reinvestment in the company as part of the transaction, alongside Phoenix. She will remain as chief executive and will work closely with Phoenix to support the company’s continued growth amid the rapid international expansion of the video gaming industry.

The company, based at Wyboston near Bedford, has seen rapid growth that brought about the biggest expansion of its studio portfolio yet. Phoenix’s investment will support and drive plans for continued growth, including through the development of new services and international expansion. 

Ms Peggs said: “I am immensely proud of what we have achieved with Universally Speaking and now, with the support of Phoenix, we can look forward to doing even more.

“Phoenix has huge experience in partnering with entrepreneurial businesses such as ours and I am looking forward to working with the team as we take Universally Speaking through its next stage of development.”

Mark Sargeant, partner at Phoenix Equity Partners, said: “Universally Speaking is a fast-growing and innovative company serving a first-class customer base in a thriving industry. We are delighted that Vickie has entrusted us to partner with her to grow a business she has built from scratch and we look forward to embarking on this journey together.”

Universally Speaking was advised by lawyers at national firm Shoosmiths. Corporate partner James Klein, who the led the team advising on the sale and reinvestment, said: “It has been a real pleasure working with Vickie Peggs and her team at Universally Speaking. The company’s reputation is second-to-none in a thriving industry and it is incredibly exciting to see the buzz and ambition for their future plans.”

James Klein.

Shoosmiths advised on all corporate and tax aspects of the sale and subsequent reinvestment. Mr Klein had corporate support from principal associate Katie Yorke, senior associate Bryn Jones and associate Olivia King and banking support from partner Anna Robson and Kat Acott.

Tom Wilde led the tax team supported by principal associate Jamie Chambers and tax advisor Jade Edgar.

Financial terms are not being disclosed.

Ms Peggs said: “James Klein and his team have provided unrivalled levels of support throughout the transaction. I have been absolutely delighted to have worked with them on the new partnership with Phoenix Equity. Without question, they consistently went above and beyond on every detail of the transaction.” 

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