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Codemasters Founders Sell Off Final Stake

by Rainier on June 14, 2007 @ 1:40 a.m. PDT

Already owing 70% of the company, venture capital firm Balderton Capital has acquired the remaining 30% stake held by the orignal founders of Codemasters, David and Richard Darling and their father Jim.

The Codemasters’ acquisition follows Balderton’s strategy of taking large stakes in technology and media companies with very superior growth prospects. Other Balderton investments include stakes in Bebo, Betfair, MySQL and Setanta Sports.

Ynon Kreiz, general partner of Balderton Capital and board member of Codemasters, said: “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.”

In addition, Goldman Sachs has provided £50m of finance to support the company’s future growth plans.

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

Founded by the Darling family in 1986, Codemasters is now a leading developer and publisher of critically acclaimed video games, many of which are based on industry-leading sports and entertainment properties. In April, the company launched The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™, a massively multiplayer online title, which became a number one selling PC game across Europe. In June, Codemasters will release a further two major titles: Colin McRae: DiRT™’ and Overlord™’ for the PC and Xbox 360 videogame and entertainment system from Microsoft.

Headquartered in Warwickshire, UK, the company maintains European operations in Germany, France, Spain, and Benelux and, in 2006, established its US operations in California. In April, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment began distributing Codemasters titles throughout the US. Across the group, Codemasters employs over 450 people. In January 2006, Chris Deering, the former President of Sony Europe, Consumer Electronics Division, and Chairman and CEO Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, was appointed non-executive Chairman.

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