Jagex, the the Cambridge-based studio best-known for Runescape, has been bought by the second-largest private equity firm in the world, the Carlyle Group. The developer has changed hands a couple of times in the last five years: it was bought out by Macarthur Fortune Holding less than a year ago, having been under the ownership of Shanghai Hongtou Network Technology since 2016.
The Carlyle Group has declined to disclose how much they spent on the deal, though the Telegraph reports it is expected to be higher than the $520 million (£390m) Macarthur spent last year.
According to the Carlyle Group, the acquisition will lead to more investment and resources being poured into Runescape, with a faster rate of content than we're currently seeing. The group also plans to use its network and resources to launch new titles in an effort to expand Jagex's portfolio.
As we celebrate #20YearsOfRuneScape, making it one of the world’s longest-running and most successful online video games franchises, we are delighted to announce that @Jagex has a new, prestigious owner in @OneCarlyle, one of the world’s largest global investment firms. pic.twitter.com/PRedtbsnjpJanuary 25, 2021
Jagex CEO, Phil Mansell, said the studio was 'so proud' to be partnering with the Carlyle Group, adding: "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.”
“RuneScape is one of the most enduring RPG franchises and has a fantastic and committed player base," says Michael Wand, managing director at Carlyle. "We look forward to drawing on the full resources of Carlyle to support Phil and his team to continue to grow the existing RuneScape franchise as well as launching new, exciting ones.”
Runescape turned 20 earlier this month (feel old yet?) with its Old School version raking in the game's highest number of concurrent players ever back in November 2020.
It's been a busy month of acquisitions and buyouts—last week saw Tencent buy Don't Starve developers Klei Entertainment, while Team17 scooped up the assets and rights to Golf With Your Friends.