VC firm buys out Codemasters

The company founders' remaining stake in the UK developer is bought out by Balderton Capital; Goldman Sachs invests 50 million pounds.

31 Comments

Jim, David, and Richard Darling, the founding members of Codemasters, the largest independent video game developer and publisher in Europe, have sold off their remaining stakes in the company for an undisclosed sum. Venture firm Balderton Capital announced it now owns--"together with management and other investors"--100 percent of the company's equity. Balderton first bought a 40 percent stake in Codemasters in 2005, and then acquired a further 30 percent in 2006.

Balderton Capital, which was previously known as Benchmark Capital Europe, has invested in companies including Bebo, Betfair, MySQL, and Setanta Sports. Top investment bank Goldman Sachs has also invested 50 million pounds (approximately $96 million) to support the company "as it realises its ambitions to be a global player, readying itself for the digital age."

Codemasters was founded in 1986 by brothers David and Richard Darling and their father Jim. The company is based in Warwickshire in the UK. Some of Codemasters' top brands are the Colin McRae rally games, Brian Lara Cricket, TOCA, and Sensible Soccer. Recently the company rebranded and started using a new corporate logo, and hired three new executives for its US arm.

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ObiKKa

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rarson "I wish Papyrus was still making racing sims. Codemasters is the only good developer left." Nono, there is still SimBin, which is a recently new racing sim developer. They've released the imperfect GTR Racing, the enjoyable GT Legends, the stellar GTR 2, & the good Race, which will probably most likely be heavily eclipsed by their upcoming Race 07 with lots lots more content!

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dipje2

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The international company 'Codemasters' changing owners doesn't mean that the studio(s) that develop the games are changed in any way. The stocks changed from owner, the day-to-day business from the company will (for now) pretty much stay the same. Also, don't forget Codemasters is also a publisher (Overlord for example is not made by them, but published). So whatever _maybe_ changing in the management in Codemasters in the future, it will be developing games I guess... or the UK studio that made DiRT will go solo or something? Who knows...

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rarson

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"Codemasters games that are next-gen are pretty cool looking but back on the old-gen consoles(PS2,Xbox)were absolutely terrible mostly shooter what a disaster" You clearly don't know what you're talking about. TOCA 2 Touring Cars (which came years before Pro Race Driver) on the PC was about the best Codemasters game ever, only eclipsed by the Colin McRae series. Jarrett and Labonte Stock Car Racing on the PSX was incredibly awesome as well, despite the graphical limitations of the PSX. Codemasters does seem to have stumbled a few times (I'd say PRD wasn't nearly as good as TOCA 2), but then out of no where, they pull off a gem like 1NSANE.

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rarson

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I wish Papyrus was still making racing sims. Codemasters is the only good developer left.

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Jebril

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DiRT looks awesome.

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GunGriffin

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Another good video game studeo gone to the wind. Ah well mabe they will keep makeing games and there may still be good ones to come. Then agian look what happened when EA Trama Studeos. They sold them in about a 4 month time frame and now they are makeing their own games.

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MCE01

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Ahh crap, now all of the awesomeness of the Colin McRae series and Dirt is gone. This is going to ruin their games.

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Pete5506

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I would have to say what ctburesch said, they did get paid

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BRETTJB99

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Codemasters games that are next-gen are pretty cool looking but back on the old-gen consoles(PS2,Xbox)were absolutely terrible mostly shooter what a disaster they were glad to see them shaping up and upgrading their logo too looks cool!

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ctburesch

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Sumo 1973..isn't it obvious why they sold? They got P-A-I-D !!

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CyleM

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for some reason i was thinking a Virtual Console firm...

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Humorguy_basic

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PC gaming - a money business. Suits are now designing games. Hence PC games sales way down, PC games becoming so safe and 'samey', like they are being cloned, not designed or written. This is another sign of the end of PC gaming. The suit's are moving in all over the industry and making games like they were Tinka Toys. Oh well, fun while it lasted!

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theyiddo

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This news is making me Dizzy.

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sumo1973

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I remember codemaster back 80's making C16/C64/Spectrum/Amstrad games with their quotes on the back of the games. I wonder why the 3 founding members decided to sell up? Will they start a new company or do something else? Not sure about the new logo either. Bring back the 80's one!

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comthitnuong

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At first I thought VC meant Virtual Console...

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MrOpinion229

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Sad to see it happen. Micro Machines for the NES is my favorite game of all time and to see those who brought that to life brings a tear to my eye.

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Seymour47

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They must have really liked Codemaster's new logo. Heh heh heh.

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GPSnake03

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Mmmmm...

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runstalker

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It's no coincidence that Codemasters' current line-up (Overlord, DiRT, Jericho, Turning Point, Flashpoint 2 etc.) have the biggest budgets and largest staff in the company's history. The Darlings are jumping out during a high time when their stakes were worth bigtime $$. Seems like most of the "new" Codemasters has new executives and producers on board, so the Darlings can fade away knowing their baby's in good hands. Or at the very least, in well-funded hands...

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sonofabear17

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As long as i can still get overlord on the 26th im fine with that

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Serbine

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I hope wish them all luck

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effthat

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How could a game get delayed with more money coming in? It wasn't a hostile takeover, I don't think and the last thing a chairman wants to do after an acquisition is slow down production. It won't be delayed because of this.

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kkee

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As long as Operation Flashpoint 2 doesn't get delayed again, I'm happy.

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effthat

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I just started a 401K plan and part of my investment is going to Goldman Sach...So technically I'm sort of a shareholder of Codemasters... I might have to see what Wii titles they have. GO CODEMASTERS!

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Staryoshi87

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Congratz to the Darlings.

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whizzedOUTwoz

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Heres me looking for to more generic games from Codies, atleast Overlord is diffrent. I cant wait for DIRT 3 and Brian Lara's Geriatric Cricket.

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Maeros4

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please stay the ^*&^ away from the business

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diablobasher

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Stupid shareholders, everything that is bad in todays world is yours and Uwe Boll's fault!

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flow700

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yeah, but, no, but, yeah, but is it still British now? ;)

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pauldarkside

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That is the sound of inevitability...

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