Carlyle to divest video games developer Jagex to CVC Capital Partners and Haveli Investments
Global investment firm Carlyle (NASDAQ: CG) and leading private markets manager CVC, along with Haveli Investments, have announced a landmark agreement for the acquisition of Jagex, the esteemed developer and publisher behind the iconic Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG), RuneScape. This pivotal transaction, supported by CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII and Haveli Investments, underscores a significant investment in the future of live service gaming and the video game industry at large.
Jagex, founded in 2000 and headquartered in Cambridge, UK, is celebrated for its 20+ year legacy in leading the development of MMORPGs, boasting an active subscriber base of 2.4 million alongside one million free-to-play users. With over 300 million lifetime RuneScape accounts, Jagex stands as one of the UK’s most successful and expansive video game studios, employing approximately 700 individuals dedicated to developing and publishing games across PC and mobile platforms.
Throughout its partnership with Carlyle, Jagex has witnessed substantial growth across its core titles, achieved through operational enhancements, marketing, and CRM initiatives. This period also saw Jagex broadening its game distribution, executing strategic mergers and acquisitions to expand its platform, and investing in new content, user acquisition, and gameplay experience. Notably, Jagex’s acquisition of Gamepires and Pipeworks Studios in 2022 has further diversified its portfolio and reinforced its position within the realm of ‘forever games.’
Phil Mansell, CEO of Jagex, expressed enthusiasm for the new partnership, emphasizing the transformative impact of Carlyle’s insight and expertise and projecting confidence in the continued enhancement of Jagex’s platform with the support of CVC and Haveli Investments. This sentiment was echoed by representatives from Carlyle and CVC, highlighting the strengthened position of Jagex as a leader in the gaming industry and its bright future under new leadership.
Nick Clarry of CVC and Brian Sheth of Haveli Investments shared their ambitions for Jagex, noting the company’s innovative spirit, loyal player base, and leadership in an attractive, growing market. They look forward to elevating the RuneScape franchise and investing in new intellectual properties to shape the future of gaming.
The acquisition, still pending customary regulatory approvals, is not just a testament to Jagex’s enduring legacy in gaming but also a strategic move signaling confidence in the video game sector’s potential for sustained growth and innovation. This partnership heralds a new chapter for Jagex, poised to further its mission of creating innovative player experiences and expanding its reach to new communities.
The acquisition of Jagex by CVC Capital Partners and Haveli Investments, facilitated by Carlyle, represents a pivotal moment in the gaming industry, reflecting the increasing value and potential of video game developers in the global market. With the financial and strategic backing of these investment powerhouses, Jagex is well-positioned to leverage its legacy in MMORPGs and push the boundaries of live service gaming. This move not only underscores the strength and appeal of Jagex’s gaming portfolio but also signals a bullish outlook on the gaming sector’s future, with a particular focus on innovation, community engagement, and sustainable growth.