Carlyle Agrees to Sell Jagex to CVC Capital Partners and Haveli Investments
London & Cambridge, UK, 9 February 2024 – Global investment firm Carlyle (NASDAQ: CG) and CVC, a leading global private markets manager, are pleased to announce that CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII and Haveli Investments have agreed the acquisition of Jagex, a leading developer and publisher of video games.
Jagex is primarily known for its key RuneScape titles, the leading Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (“MMORPG”). RuneScape boasts a 20+ year history of leadership in the development of live service gaming, an unparalleled and vibrant community of 2.4 million active subscribers and one million free-to-play users, with over 300 million lifetime RuneScape accounts. Founded in 2000 and based in Cambridge, UK, Jagex is one of the largest and most successful British video game studios, developing and publishing video games on PC and mobile – with c.700 employees.
Carlyle invested in Jagex through Carlyle Partners (“CP”) VII, Carlyle’s flagship US buyout fund, and Carlyle Europe Technology Partners (“CETP”) IV, a €1.35 billion fund that invests in middle-market technology-focused companies. During its ownership period, Carlyle worked in partnership with Jagex’s management team to: increase growth across its core titles through operational improvements including marketing and CRM initiatives; broaden the distribution of its games portfolio through new channels and platforms; execute M&A to expand the Jagex platform and create a strong independent player in forever games; and invest in new content releases, user acquisition, gameplay experience, and portfolio diversification. Jagex acquired Gamepires in 2022, the developer of SCUM, an open-world survival game acclaimed by players for its detailed survival mechanics and character customisation. Jagex also acquired Pipeworks Studios in 2022, adding a broad portfolio of game development expertise and a world-class Games-as-a-Service platform.
Jagex is now very well-positioned to continue in its mission of creating new and innovative player experiences as it also looks to reach new communities under the leadership of CEO Phil Mansell, supported by CVC and Haveli Investments.
Phil Mansell, Chief Executive of Jagex, said: “Jagex has transformed significantly in recent years thanks to the hard work of our entire team as well as the insight and expertise we have leveraged through our partnership with Carlyle. We are delighted to bring CVC and Haveli in as our new strategic partners for the next stage of Jagex’s journey. Through our successful partnership with Carlyle we have already seen the benefits of working with experienced, global financial sponsors. The video gaming sector has huge potential, and with CVC and Haveli’s support, I am confident that we can continue to enhance our platform for the good of both our existing valued gamers and potential new gamers yet to experience our products.”
Patrick McCarter, Managing Director and Co-Head of Global Technology, and Andrew Tan, Principal in the CETP investment advisory team, said: “We are proud to have partnered with Jagex at such an important point in its development. The investment and innovation delivered by the team over the last few years has strengthened Jagex’s position as a leader in forever games with a unique and world-class platform. This success illustrates the capabilities of Carlyle’s global platform, with our European and US technology teams collaborating to support Jagex’s growth, and we believe the business is now well-placed to build upon its position as one of the most exciting games developers today. It has been a pleasure to work with Phil and the team, and we wish the company every success on this next chapter.”
Nick Clarry, Managing Partner and Head of CVC’s Sports, Media and Entertainment team, commented: “CVC has followed the video games space for many years with great interest. We are huge fans of the RuneScape games, the large global community of players, and the Games-as-a-Service capability at Jagex. Our ambition is to bring relevant experience from our sports, media & entertainment assets to help realise the full potential of Jagex over the years ahead. This will involve continuing to improve the existing RuneScape games, the accessibility to games on various platforms, and reinvesting into new IP content to create the exciting games of tomorrow.”
Brian Sheth, Chief Investment Officer, Haveli Investments, added: “We, along with CVC, are thrilled to partner with Jagex, a premier player in gaming. We have been following Jagex closely since we first began implementing our gaming investment strategy, and we believe it is among the most innovative and creative companies across gaming with a large and loyal player base, operating in an attractive, growing market where they’ve been a leader for more than two decades. We are excited to work with Phil and the Jagex team, along with CVC, to take its flagship franchise RuneScape to the next level.”
The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.
Financial advisors on the transaction for Carlyle are Morgan Stanley & Aream, and Goldman Sachs advised the transaction vehicle to be funded by CVC Fund VIII and Haveli.
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A leader in creating deep and engaging live games on PC and mobile, Jagex’s flagship MMORPG, RuneScape, has welcomed over 320 million player accounts to its world and is a $1.5 billion lifetime revenue franchise. Today the RuneScape franchise exists beyond live operations; our titles are forever games that connect and inspire millions of players, with content and experiences both inside and outside of inexhaustible game worlds. Both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape, on PC and mobile, offer ever-evolving, highly active worlds and our community-focused development ethos empowers players to have a real say in how each game is shaped.
Jagex has expanded with the acquisitions of Pipeworks and Gamepires, bringing its expertise in building forever games to SCUM, a multi-million selling open-world survival title in Steam Early Access. Jagex employs more than 700 people globally, and is headquartered in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
More information can be found at www.jagex.com
Carlyle (NASDAQ: CG) is a global investment firm with deep industry expertise that deploys private capital across three business segments: Global Private Equity, Global Credit and Global Investment Solutions. With $426 billion of assets under management as of December 31, 2023, Carlyle’s purpose is to invest wisely and create value on behalf of its investors, portfolio companies and the communities in which we live and invest. Carlyle employs more than 2,200 people in 28 offices across four continents. Further information is available at www.carlyle.com. Follow Carlyle on X and LinkedIn.
CVC is a leading global private markets manager with a network of 29 offices throughout EMEA, the Americas, and Asia, with approximately €188 billion of assets under management. CVC has seven complementary strategies across private equity, secondaries, credit and infrastructure, for which CVC funds have secured commitments in excess of €230 billion from some of the world's leading pension funds and other institutional investors. Funds managed or advised by CVC’s private equity strategies are invested in over 125 companies worldwide, which have combined annual sales of approximately €166 billion and employ more than 590,000 people. For further information about CVC please visit: https://www.cvc.com/. Follow us on LinkedIn.
All figures as of 30 September 2023, and adjusted to reflect the agreed acquisition of DIF Capital Partners announced in September 2023 (closing of which is subject to regulatory approvals), unless otherwise indicated.
Haveli Investments is an Austin-based private equity firm that seeks to invest in the highest quality companies in the technology sector through control, minority or structured equity and debt investments with a focus on software, data, gaming and adjacent industries. The firm seeks to partner with innovative companies, entrepreneurs and management teams throughout a company’s life cycle. Haveli’s experienced team of investors and diverse industry experts will provide operational and strategic support, enabling portfolio companies to focus on driving innovation and increasing growth, scale and operating margins. Underscoring Haveli’s investments is an unwavering focus on DEI and sustainability.
Launched in 2022, Havelis Gaming Fund has previously invested in London-based Omeda Studios, whose title Predecessor is currently in Early Access, Montreal-based Behaviour Interactive, the developer and publisher behind the hit online, genre-leading horror game Dead by Daylight and Tel Aviv-based Candivore, the developer and publisher of the category leading mobile hit Match Masters.