Officials from British publisher and developer Codemasters have announced that company founders David and Richard Darling, and their father Jim, have sold their remaining stake in the company to venture capital firm Balderton Capital (formerly Benchmark Capital Europe).
Balderton first acquired a 40 percent stake in the company
in 2005 and bought a further 30 percent share
in 2006. At the same time, Goldman Sachs had provided £50 million ($98.4m) of finance to support the company’s future growth plans.
Codemasters was formed by the Darling family in 1986, with the Darling brothers presented as the archetypal "bedroom programmers". In its formative years, the company was known for its wide range of original budget titles for early 8-bit and 16-bit computers. In later years, the company became better known for its use of the Micro Machines
license and a range of British based sports simulations based on cricket, rugby and various motorsports, including the DiRT/Colin McRae
More recently, the company has also begun to diversify into publishing PC titles, largely those developed in Eastern Europe, and massively multiplayer online role-playing games, including European distribution on recent hit The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar
The company has seen a lot of recent activity at a corporate level, with a new logo and rebranding
, as well as the hiring of Konami and Capcom industry veterans
to aid its business in North America, where it is now to be published by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
Ynon Kreiz, general partner of Balderton Capital and board member of Codemasters, said: “Codemasters is now fully funded and ready for its next stage of growth, with a great pipeline of new products and a world-class management in place. We are grateful for the contribution made by Jim, David and Richard and the key role they played to position the company for the future.”
Rod Cousens, CEO of Codemasters, said: “This new investment heralds the next stage for Codemasters as it realizes its ambitions to be a global player, readying itself for the digital age. For more than 20 years, Jim, David and Richard built Codemasters to become one of the video game industry’s great British success stories; they brought enjoyment to many and made a valuable contribution to the industry as a whole.”