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Indian Firm Takes 50 Percent Codemasters Stake

Indian gaming firm Zapak Digital Entertainment is taking a 50 percent stake in UK DiRT and Ashes Cricket publisher Codemasters, an investment the publisher says offers it "immense resources."
An Indian gaming firm is taking a 50 percent stake in UK DiRT and Ashes Cricket publisher Codemasters, an investment the publisher says offers it "immense resources." Investor Reliance Big Entertainment holds the Zapak Digital Entertainment gaming division, and calls it India's biggest gaming company. Zapak will oversee the Codemasters investment. "This is great news for our development and publishing teams," says Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens, praising Reliance and Zapak's support to "realize the full potential of our game coding and online excellence across so many platforms." "The future of Codemasters has never looked brighter. It's a whole new game," Cousens enthused. Reliance Big Entertainment is the same corporation that made a $1.5 billion deal with Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks that enabled the movie studio's 2008 split from Paramount. Reliance Big is led by billionaire business baron Anil Dhirubhai Ambani. Zapak says it's committed to the growth and development of Codemasters' franchises across new platforms and in new markets. In addition to complementing Zapak's own gaming portfolio, Zapak's mobile gaming presence "will enhance Codemasters' ability to fully leverage its attractive franchises such as its racing and cricket games," according to CEO Rohit Sharma. The investment was welcomed by Codemasters' existing backer, Balderton Capital, which first invested in the company in 2005. Codemasters' financial position saw some scrutiny in recent months, after aggressive expansion tactics that didn't pan out alongside the global economic declines. High-profile titles like Damnation and Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising didn't turn the sales numbers, and not long ago the publisher canned the InXile-developed Heist. In early 2010, media reports claimed the privately-held Codemasters would soon be "rescued" by a new investor, presumably referring to Zapak. Codemasters is currently at work on Bodycount, a new game under the creative direction of Stuart Black, best known for the Criterion Studios shooter Black.

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