Sheffield games firm Sumo Digital set to raise £70m from stock market float

Carl Cavers, Darren Mills and Paul Porter, Sumo Digital co-founders.
Carl Cavers, Darren Mills and Paul Porter, Sumo Digital co-founders.

Sumo Digital is set to float on the stock exchange in a deal expected to raise £70m - and value the company at £140m.

The Sheffield games developer is seeking to list on London’s junior Aim market before Christmas.

The Sumo team at its Sheffield headquarters.

The Sumo team at its Sheffield headquarters.

Its private equity owners Perwyn - which owns about 70 per cent - and three founders are looking to sell shares equal to roughly half the company’s worth, raising £70m.
Sumo plans to use the proceeds to pay off some of its £54.5m net debt and fund expansion including possible buy other companies.

Founded in 2003, it has made games for Sega, Microsoft and others and has grown rapidly in recent years. Products include Sonic Sega All-Stars and Little Big Planet 3 for Sony.

Sumo, which employs 477 people in the UK, Canada and India - including 300 in Sheffield - had earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation of £6m in the year to December 31, 2016 on turnover of £20.5m.

Turnover is on target to hit £30m this year.

In November, The Star reported Sumo Digital planned to create 50 jobs in the Sheffield after taking space adjacent to its headquarters in Brightside.

Chief executive Carl Cavers said he expected total headcount to grow by 60 in the next year and up to 50 of the new jobs would be in Sheffield.

The company has just hired five senior members of staff - a chief financial officer and four key operational posts - to support the growing team, he added.

Mr Cavers said then: “Our significant growth will always be in Sheffield. We are very fortunate that South Yorkshire has a huge heritage in games which has been good for us over the last 14 years. The universities have great games courses and produce good graduates.

“We also work on some of the world’s best games franchises, which attracts people. And Sheffield is a nice place to live, it’s safe and it’s got everything you want.”

Working in partnership with top-tier publishers including Sony and Microsoft, the business has produced games including Little Big Planet 3, Forza Horizon 2 (Xbox 360) and Disney Infinity 3.0, which have sold millions of copies.

It is currently working on Crackdown 3 with Microsoft and Dead Island 2.

Private investment company Perwyn bought Sumo last year, aiming to help it become a ‘world leader in games development’.