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CVC Capital Partners and Haveli Investments confirm plans to buy Jagex

Following reports from earlier this week, CVC Capital Partners and Haveli Investments have confirmed an agreement to purchase RuneScape developer Jagex from Carlyle Group.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but a report earlier this week suggested CVC was planning to spend £900 million on the purchase.

Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners is one of the world’s largest private equity firms and has primarily invested in sports teams and leagues.

Meanwhile, Austin-based Haveli Investments is an established games investor, having previously backed Dead by Daylight creator Behaviour Interactive, London-based Predecessor developer Omeda Studios, and Tel Aviv-based Match Masters studio Candivore.

Jagex – which has more than 700 staff worldwide – is best known for its RuneScape franchise, which has generated more than $1.5 billion since the original game launched 23 years ago. In a press release confirming the acquisition, the company reported it saw record subscribers for both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape in 2023.

The company is currently working on the PC and console launch of Scum by Gamepires, which Jagex acquired in 2022. Scum is due for release later this year.

Jagex has been through several changes of ownership in the last ten years. It was acquired by a group of Chinese investors and made part of Zhongji Holding (itself part of Shangai Hongtou Network Technology) in 2016, before being sold to US-based global management firm Macarthur Fortune Holding in 2020 for $530 million.

It was then sold to the Carlyle Group the following year. Reports emerged in September that Carlyle was looking to sell the RuneScape developer, just two years after it was acquired.

“I’m delighted to welcome CVC Capital Partners and Haveli Investments as strategic partners for Jagex,” said CEO Phil Mansell. “CVC and Haveli will help Jagex build on our portfolio of forever games, furthering our aims of supporting and growing our community of forever fans. Together we’ll create more of the experiences our fans love, innovate to empower our players further, and build new forever games that capture imaginations.

“The support from Carlyle has been exceptional, and that success has positioned Jagex for the future.”

Goldmans Sachs advised on the deal for CVC Fund VIII and Haveli, while Morgan Stanley & Arena served as financial advisors for Carlyle.

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