Carlyle To Sell Jagex To CVC And Haveli

By Amit Chowdhry ● Feb 9, 2024

Global investment firm Carlyle and CVC (a leading global private markets manager) announced that CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII and Haveli Investments have agreed on the acquisition of Jagex, a leading developer and publisher of video games.

Jagex is known for its key RuneScape titles, the leading Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG). And RuneScape boasts a 20+ year history of leadership in developing 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. Launched 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 (which is 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. And 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 the 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, which is the developer of SCUM, an open-world survival game acclaimed by players for its detailed survival mechanics and character customization. And 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 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.

The deal is subject to customary regulatory approvals. And the 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.

KEY QUOTES:

“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.”

– Phil Mansell, Chief Executive of Jagex

“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.”

– Patrick McCarter, Managing Director and Co-Head of Global Technology, and Andrew Tan, Principal in the CETP investment advisory team

“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.”

– Nick Clarry, Managing Partner and Head of CVC’s Sports, Media and Entertainment team

“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.”

– Brian Sheth, Chief Investment Officer, Haveli Investments