Games developer and publisher Jagex has been snapped up in a £900 million deal.

CVC Capital Partners, backer of the Six Nations rugby championship and a former owner of Formula 1, and Haveli Investments have agreed the takeover deal with global investor Carlyle Group.

Jagex is primarily known for its key RuneScape titles, the leading massive multiplayer online role playing game. RuneScape boasts a 20+ year history of leadership in the development of live service gaming, a community of 2.4m active subscribers and a million free-to-play users, with over 300m lifetime accounts. 

Founded in 2000 and based in Cambridge, Jagex is one of the largest and most successful British video game studios, developing and publishing video games on PC and mobile. It has around 700 employees.

Following its takeover of Jagex in 2021 – only months after Macarthur Fortune had snapped it up for around £428m – Carlyle oversaw acquisitions including Gamepires, developer of open-world survival game SCUM, and Pipeworks Studios.

“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,” said CEO Phil Mansell, who will continue in the role. 

“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.”

Inside UK’s £1 billion videogame franchise RuneScape

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.”

‘Investors & entrepreneurs told me to leave Leeds for London’