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Runescape developer Jagex may get sold off again

Jagex and Runescape may change owners for a sixth time in a full decade.

Justin Carter

September 7, 2023

1 Min Read
Screenshot of a player overlooking the view in Jagex's Runescape.

Over two years after purchasing Runescape developer Jagex, Carlyle is reportedly considering auctioning off the UK studio. 

Per Reuters, the potential sale is valued at 1 billion pounds (or $1.25 billion) and is presently in its early stages. Reportedly, if the sale does occur, it'll be towards the end of 2023 and the piece notes Jagex's (potential) future owner could be another private equity firm that could use Jagex to buy up several smaller companies.

During its 2021 financial highlights, Jagex CEO Phil Mansell claimed its parent company was "hugely supportive" of its long-term growth plans. And with Runescape having achieved financial growth year after year for almost a full decade, it's odd that Carlyle is allegedly choosing to sell off a studio it hasn't owned all that long.

A brief history of Jagex

Since 2012, Jagex has been owned by a rotation of investors, including Hongtou (from 2016-2020) and MacArthur Fortune Holding (2020-2021). Carlyle acquired it in early 2021 for what's said to be $530 million.

After it was acquired by Carlyle, Jagex explained that it wanted to diversify its portfolio and evolve the "core Runescape universe," which included bringing the game to mobile. With Carlyle's backing, Jagex itself acquired studios such as Gamepires and Pipeworks.

Earlier this week, Jagex and developer Flying Wild Hog announced the shut down on the online co-op game Space Punks. The game was published by Jagex under its third-party publishing label and will go offline in November.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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