[UPDATE: Speaking to MCV, Jagex is claiming that the deal is not yet complete. "Jagex has entered into a non-exclusive, non-binding arrangement for a potential acquisition," the firm has announced. "The negotiations surrounding the acquisition are ongoing and it remains very much business as usual for the Company."]
In a move straight out of the blue, Chinese mining outfit Shandong Honda has acquired Runescape developer Jagex for $300 million.
As reported by the Financial Times (subscription only), the Shanghai-based mining group is currently leaking cash, and the $300 million it forked over for Jagex is six times its forecasted net loss for 2015.
Why though, is an iron ore miner betting its future on an independent UK game developer?
Well, as noted by the Financial Times, China's slowing growth mean many of the country's "old industries" are being forced to diversify and look outwards for more stable investments in order to survive.
In this case, Shandong's idea of diversification was the purchase of the UK's largest independent publisher and developer.
Jagex's hit MMO, Runescape, has been recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world's largest free MMORPG, with over 200 million accounts having been created since the game launched in January 2001.