RuneScape developer Jagex has been acquired by the private equity backer of Six Nations Rugby, CVC from Carlyle Group for £910m.
Jagex, which launched in 2000, is primarily known for Runescape and Old School Runescape and is headquartered in Cambridge with around 700 employees.
Throughout its more than 20-year history, RuneScape has drawn over 300m players and currently has 2.4 million active subscribers and one million free-to-play users.
The game was one of the first modern massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMOPRGs), setting the stage for games like World of Warcraft.
The game also saw a resurgence in popularity more recently with the launch of Old School Runescape, which is now the more popular version, setting a record of 200,000 concurrent players in November 2023.
The firm has gone through multiple different owners in its 25 years, having been owned by the Carlyle Group since January 2021.
Carlyle said during that time, it worked in partnership with Jagex’s management team to broaden the distribution of its games portfolio through new channels and platforms, increase its growth through marketing initiatives, and invest in new content releases.
Since its acquisition by Carlyle, Jagex also acquired Gamepires and Pipeworks Studios in 2022, the former being the developer of the open-world survival game SCUM.
Now, the firm will be owned through the CVC Capital Partners fund VIII and Haveli Investments.
The acquisition is for an undisclosed amount, but City A.M. understands it was for £910m. Sky News predicted earlier this week that the deal would be worth about £900m.
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.”