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Investment firm The Carlyle Group has acquired RuneScape publisher Jagex for at least $530 million. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Daily Telegraph reported the deal was worth at least $530 million, which was the price paid in the previous transaction in 2020. It’s another sign of the biggest investors taking a new interest in games as a haven for investment during the pandemic.
The acquisition was announced as the Cambridge, United Kingdom-based Jagex said it was celebrating 20 years of RuneScape, the massively multiplayer online fantasy game targeted at young players.
Jagex has more than 450 people, and it’s now one of the largest and most successful British video game studios, developing and publishing video games on PC and mobile.
The company is best known for RuneScape, which has attracted almost 300 million player accounts since its launch 20 years ago. Jagex has grown its RuneScape titles to a $1 billion franchise. 2020 saw record numbers of subscribing players, more than half of which are in the United States.
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The Carlyle Group is one of the world’s largest global investment firms, with $230 billion of assets under management. Jagex will also invest in launching new titles to diversify its portfolio and engage with an even wider community of players.
Equity for the investment was provided by Carlyle Partners (CP) VII and Carlyle Europe Technology Partners (CETP) IV funds. Phil Mansell is CEO of Jagex, and he said in a statement that the company will continue to supports its game teams to deliver more content for both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape.
In 2016, a Chinese conglomerate with mining operations bought Jagex, and then it was sold again in May 2020 to Macarthur Fortune Holding.
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