Runescape creator Jagex sold for $530m to mysterious new owner

Jagex has today announced that it has been acquired by a new owner for the princely sum of $530m (£424m). The new owner is described in a statement as “global asset management company, Macarthur Fortune, as part of its Platinum Fortune LP fund.” 

That figure makes the company worth considerably more than when it was last sold in 2016 to Fukong Interactive (part of Shanghai Hongtou Network) for $300m. That’s no huge surprise with jagex having a record year in 2019 and passing the $1bn lifetime revenue marker for Runescape. And the deal has been rumoured as far back as the January of last year, with the eventual buyer being rumoured from the summer.

However, there is some confusion around the identity of the new owners. Macarthur Fortune isn’t easy to trace via the usual searches, so it’s hard to see who actually now controls the developer. Searches did bring up one Duke Zhu as managing director of Macarthur Fortune, who has recently been appointed as a director of Jagex and chairman of the board, as you might expect, but no details of the funds other holdings were apparent.

Fukong reportedly encountered financial issues in 2019, which meant that the vast majority of its income was from Jagex alone. And in response has long been planning to restructure its holdings, a sale of Jagex was touted as a possibility, but it’s now unclear to whom control of the company has shifted, or even whether the move is a complex restructuring rather than a simple sale. Documents related to the sale didn’t shine any light on the matter.

Of course, if Jagex gets the investment that it needs to continue to thrive, then who it’s owned by is somewhat academic, but the lack of transparency around the identity of Macarthur Fortune does create some unease for us, it’s certainly based in Irvine California (and the British Virgin Islands) but that’s hardly unusual.

There was no immediate response from contacts at the company regarding the new owner’s identity, though they were broadly positive about the sale. 

A statement said: “Macarthur Fortune shares Jagex’s passion for video games and is dedicated to utilizing its experience and expertise to add value to one of the longest-standing video game developers through strategically investing in R&D and marketing to attract new players to its RuneScape franchise of games.”

Phil Mansell, Jagex CEO, said: “The combined strength of Macarthur Fortune and Jagex will both support and enhance our strategic plan to deliver great gaming experiences to our communities of RuneScape players and build on our portfolio with more living games for a global audience”. 

The management team of Jagex will remain in place.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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