Carlyle sells Jagex for close to £1 billion

09 Feb, 2024
Tony Quested
Cambridge video games company Jagex has been sold by the NASDAQ-quoted global investment firm Carlyle to CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII and Haveli Investments. No figures have been released for the sale price but the acquisition is understood to be valued at close to £1 billion.
Image credit: Sharaf Maksumov /

Carlyle has owned Jagex since 2021 and played a major role in its continued growth; a strategic sale has been touted for months.

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, 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.

Founded in 2000, Jagex is one of the largest and most successful British video game studios, developing and publishing video games on PC and mobile , and has around 700 employees. It is understood the business will continue to be based in Cambridge and it has been confirmed that Phil Mansell will lead the march into the future as CEO.

Mansell says: “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.”

Carlyle invested in Jagex through Carlyle Partners VII, Carlyle’s flagship US buyout fund, and Carlyle Europe Technology Partners IV, a €1.35 billion fund that invests in middle-market technology-focused companies.

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 its 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, the developer of SCUM, an open-world survival game acclaimed by players for its detailed survival mechanics and character customisation.

It also bought Pipeworks Studios in 2022, adding a broad portfolio of game development expertise and a world-class Games-as-a-Service platform.
Jagex is now very 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 Mansell, supported by CVC and Haveli Investments.

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.”

Brian Sheth, Chief Investment Officer, Haveli Investments, added: “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 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.”