Cambridge, UK-based games firm Jagex has been bought once again, this time by investment giant The Carlyle Group.
The news was broken by The Telegraph, with the RuneScape maker confirming that it was in new hands once again. No figure has been put on the deal, but reports point to Jagex having a higher price tag now than the $530 million that firm boasted when it was bought by Macarthur Fortune Holding in April 2020.
“I am so proud that Jagex is teaming up with Carlyle, a prestigious investment group that believes in the potential of Jagex, our vision for growth, and will support us in accelerating our multi-year growth strategy," CEO Phil Mansell said.
"We will continue to expand our game teams to create and deliver more great content for RuneScape and Old School RuneScape. We will continue to create exciting experiences for our players, grow our global communities, build new games to expand and further explore the RuneScape universe, lend our expertise to publish third-party games from like-minded online game developers, and invest in the incredible tech and talent that powers this all.”
Carlyle MD Patrick McCarter added: “The global video games market is large and growing, and within this the global massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) sub-sector is particularly attractive. We have been impressed with Jagex’s market position, strong track record of revenue and market share growth, as well as the experience and passion of the team.”
Back in 2016, Jagex was bought by Chinese firm Shanghai Fukong, with that company looking to sell part or all of its stake in the RuneScape maker at the start of 2019. It was bought by Macarthur Fortune in 2020.
RuneScape turned 20 on January 4th, 2021 and currently boasts more than 1.2 million paying subscribers.
If the name Carlyle Group doesn't ring a bell, don't worry; one of the many, many companies that it owns probably will. It is the second largest private equity firm in the world, according to the PEI 300 rankings, and has invested in everything from fashion giant Supreme to food and drink firm Dunkin' Donuts in the past.
While this does mark the first time that Jagex hasn't been owned by a Chinese business since 2016, private equity firms can be tough to work with. Historically these kinds of companies have become known for squeezing and stripping down assets in order to sell them off. Given that Jagex's RuneScape titles are absolutely flourishing at the moment – and its Partners publishing label is getting off the ground, slowly by surely – one hopes that this isn't the kind of fate the company faces.