London, June 14, 2007 (9am) - Balderton Capital, the leading venture capital firm, has acquired the remaining stake held by the founders of Codemasters, the largest independent videogame developer and publisher in Europe.
Balderton, formerly known as Benchmark Capital Europe, first invested in Codemasters in 2005 taking a 40% stake and bought a further 30% in 2006. It has now bought out the remaining interest of the founders, 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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About Balderton Capital
Balderton Capital is one of Europe's largest venture capital firms, committed to finding and helping talented entrepreneurs build great companies. Based in London, it manages approximately USD 1.5 billion in committed venture capital. Since 2000, Balderton has invested in over 70 companies across a wide variety of technology sectors and geographies, including UK, US, China, Russia and Scandinavia.
Notable investments include Habbo Hotel (the teen social networking site), Alphyra (Europe's largest payment processing network), MySQL (the open-source database business), Betfair (the largest online betting exchange), Setanta Sports (Europe's leading sports pay-tv broadcaster) and Bebo (the leading social networking site).
Balderton takes a team-oriented approach to venture investing. The partners combine operating and company-building experience with a keen understanding of what it takes to build successful businesses in the European technology market.
Codemasters is a leading developer and publisher of best-selling interactive entertainment products for a global audience on current and future gaming platforms and channels. Established in 1986, the company's dominant brands include Colin McRae, Race Driver, Brian Lara Cricket and Operation Flashpoint. The company is headquartered in Warwickshire UK and maintains operations in the US, Germany, France, Spain, and Benelux. Codemasters receives over two million visitors to its web site every month, discover why at:
PRESS RESOURCE WEB SITE
Download game artwork, screens and essential Codemasters' press materials direct to your desktop from: http://www.codemasters.com/mediabank
ASK ABOUT GAMES
Codemasters supports askaboutgames.com www.askaboutgames.com - a UK initiative designed to help parents understand the age ratings system for computer and video games so that they can make more informed choices when choosing games for their children.