A slew of buyout firms are circling the video game publisher behind the Runescape franchise, even as the owner’s hopes for a bumper valuation are beginning to waver.
Sky News has learned that private equity firms including Advent International and CVC Capital Partners made first-round offers for Jagex late last week.
Bank sources said on Monday that the bidders valued their interest at around 800m. GBP – well below the 1 billion mark. pound, which was mentioned in previous reports on the sales process.
A number of other large buyout funds are said to have examined offers and opted not to bid due to uncertainty about the company’s business plan and development pipeline.
Jagex has been owned by Carlyle since January 2021 and was reportedly considering an initial public offering of the company.
The stuttering IPO environment in London and New York is believed to have prompted Carlyle to turn its attention to an outright sale.
Runescape is one of the world’s longest running online video game franchises.
Based in Cambridge and employing hundreds of people, Jagex has had a number of previous owners.
The auction is run by bankers at Morgan Stanley and Aream & Co, a video game store adviser.
Carlyle, Advent and CVC declined to comment.