Investment bonanza triggered as Jagex goes to Chinese in $300m deal
Jagex, the Cambridge-based creator of the iconic online game RuneScape, has confirmed its acquisition by Chinese investors with immediate effect and a new board of directors has been formed.
The acquisition of Jagex by a group of investors including Shandong Hongda Mining Company will trigger a massive investment programme for the business as it stays in Cambridge but pushes its reach internationally.
This is the first move in creating a dedicated, highly focused Chinese-owned games company within a newly created structure of a highly respected and well established local organisation, which is committing significant resources to the new entity.
The move will see Jagex propelled into a new investment cycle to charge forward with growth projects for RuneScape and its franchise extensions, while seeking out additional Mergers & Acquisitions opportunities to ramp up its presence in the gaming space.
Rod Cousens, CEO of Jagex said: “Having visibility in China, which is now the biggest gaming market in the world, the new entity is a compelling and attractive proposition for western businesses seeking to broaden their reach in a fast-rising, rapid growth region. It will enable them to tap into a creative and development talent pool to design and develop content for the Chinese consumer and engage with, and expand, a global community.
“Jagex will continue to be operated by the existing management team, which has overseen an impressive trading performance in recent times and driven its iconic franchise, RuneScape to continued growth. It will be business as usual for the company, its players and its employees post-acquisition.”
The deal was completed by Lisa Pan and Thomas Song on behalf of the incoming shareholders and they will be appointed to the board of Jagex. Jagex was advised by investment banking firm Code Advisors and the legal team at Willkie, Farr & Gallagher.
Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, Jagex’s flagship online adventure game, RuneScape, is a major success story in gaming. RuneScape has welcomed over 245 million players to its world and its monthly players number in the multi-millions.
This year, RuneScape has introduced NXT, an all-new visual engine and game client, and will unveil an entirely new continent in the game world later this summer. RuneScape is also watched by audiences of millions on social channels and is one of the top ten most-watched games on Twitch†.
RuneScape’s retro incarnation, Old School RuneScape, is also experiencing accelerated user growth through its impact in the eSports sector. The game’s Deadman Tournament, held and streamed during Insomnia 57 (i57) marked the first time an MMORPG has successfully delivered a high-profile eSport audience and drew the second highest audience on Twitch at the time.
Further franchise extensions include the critically acclaimed Chronicle: RuneScape Legends and the forthcoming RuneScape: Idle Adventures, created in partnership with Hyper Hippo, the developers of cult hit Adventure Capitalist.
Jagex employs over 320 people at its headquarters in Cambridge UK.