Jagex, Developer of RuneScape, Potentially Up for Acquisition by Carlyle
According to reports from Reuters, Jagex, the developer behind the popular game RuneScape, is in line for acquisition. Its parent company, Carlyle, is said to be auctioning off the British studio for a reported value of £1 billion ($1.25 billion). The sale is still in the early stages, but if it goes through, the deal is expected to be finalized by the end of this year. The potential new owner is likely to be a private equity firm, further establishing Jagex as a parent company by acquiring smaller companies. This move would follow the footsteps of their existing subsidiaries, Gamepires and Pipeworks Studios.
This potential acquisition would mark the sixth change in ownership for Jagex since 2012. Insight Venture Partners took a majority share in 2012, followed by Hongtou in 2016. Hongtou was then acquired by Zhongji Holdings, which later changed its name to Fukong Interactive Entertainment. In 2020, Macarthur Fortune Holdings became the owner, and finally, The Carlyle Group took over in 2021 with a purchase of $530 million. If Reuters’ reported value of £1 billion is accurate, this would mean that Carlyle effectively doubled their investment.
Expanding Horizons for RuneScape
After the acquisition by Carlyle, Jagex expressed its desire to expand its portfolio and evolve the RuneScape IP, especially in the realm of mobile gaming. CEO Phil Mansell highlighted in the company’s 2021 financial highlights that Carlyle Group has been “hugely supportive” of their long-term growth plans. With RuneScape continuing to thrive even after two decades since its launch, Jagex remains an attractive target for acquisition, even though previous owners struggled to harness its full potential.
Jagex has seen success as a company, with RuneScape serving as its flagship title. According to anonymous sources within the company that spoke to Reuters, Jagex’s EBITDA stands at £60 million ($75 million) and is expected to grow by 10% in the upcoming year.
In November, Jagex announced a new partnership with Titan Publishing to create RuneScape comics and books.