It is further announced that Benchmark Capital Europe, the top-tier venture capital firm, has increased its investment in Codemasters. The firm, which acquired 40% of Codemasters in April 2005, has purchased an additional 30%, taking its total shareholding to 70%.
Ynon Kreiz, General Partner at Benchmark Capital Europe, comments: "Since our initial investment last year, Codemasters has demonstrated that it can become a major force in a very competitive and dynamic industry. The additional investment and the appointment of industry icon Chris Deering as Chairman further strengthens our commitment to making Codemasters a global leader in the video games market. We look forward to continue building the company and benefiting from our successful partnership with Codemasters founders, the Darling family."
In addition, Rod Cousens, Chief Executive Officer of Codemasters, has acquired a 1.5% stake in the company. Mr Cousens joined Codemasters in May 2005, having previously been Chief Executive Officer of Acclaim Entertainment. Mr Cousens has led the company through a growth stage that has seen the formation of additional business divisions, including Codemasters Online Gaming and Codemasters Mobile.
Rod Cousens, Codemasters' Chief Executive Officer, comments: "Codemasters has launched dominant titles, such as Brian Lara International Cricket, which became a summer best seller, and has already expanded its interests in gaming markets with success in the MMO and mobile sectors.
"We are very excited about the company's current momentum and delighted to welcome Chris, a pioneer in the gaming industry. He is worldly, understands global markets and has made PlayStation a major entertainment brand. His combination of intellect, business savvy, understanding of technology, and breadth of experience will be hugely valuable as Codemasters continues its strategy of portfolio and international growth."
As CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Mr Deering was responsible for all Sony's games (PlayStation) in the majority of PAL territories. He founded the division in January 1995, launched PlayStation 1 in 1995 and PlayStation 2 in 2000, leading to a combined installed base of 70 million units. Mr Deering was appointed as Chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe in April 2004. In September 2005, Sony introduced the PSP (PlayStation Portable system), the most successful games console launch ever.
As President of Sony Europe, Consumer Electronics Division, Mr Deering was in charge of all activities related to Sony's TV broadcast equipment, digital cameras, computers, the company's music downloads and streaming music services. In 2004, Mr Deering won the Interactive Industry Award from BAFTA (British Association of Film and Television Arts) and has recently been elected Chairman of the Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival. He holds an MBA in Marketing from Harvard Business School.
Chris Deering, Codemasters' new Chairman, says: "Over the past 20 years, I have been impressed with Codemasters' excellence in game development and skilful marketing in the PlayStation market and overall gaming space. The company's heritage and the reputation it carries makes this a thoroughly exciting prospect and I look forward to contributing to its future success."