Darlings sell Codemasters

New investment secured.

GamesIndustry.biz can reveal that Balderton Capital has purchased the Darling family's share of Codemasters - and that the company has just secured GBP 50 million in financing.

The Darlings founded Codemasters in 1986. Balderton, which operated under the name Benchmark Capital Europe until recently, bought a 40 per cent stake in the company in 2005, and purchased a further 30 per cent the following year.

Having now acquired the entire interest of founding shareholders Jim, David and Richard Darling, plus that of management and other investors, Balderton owns 100 per cent of Codemasters' equity.

The financial details of the deal were not disclosed. However, Codemasters did also announce that a GBP 50 million investment has been secured from Goldman Sachs.

"For more than 20 years, Jim, David and Richard built Codemasters to become one of the videogame industry's great British success stories; they brought enjoyment to many and made a valuable contribution to the industry as a whole," said CEO Rod Cousens.

"This new investment heralds the next stage for Codemasters as it realises its ambitions to be a global player, readying itself for the digital age."

Balderton is one of the largest venture firms in Europe with approximately USD 1.5 billion under management. It has stakes in more than 70 companies around the globe, including Bebo, Betfair, MySQL and Setanta Sports.

Ynon Kreiz, a general partner of Balderton and Codemasters board member, commented, "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."

Codemasters recently released hit MMORPG Lord of the Rings Online, while forthcoming titles include Colin McRae: DiRT and Overlord.

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