Indian games giant takes stake in Codemasters

Indian games giant takes stake in Codemasters
Michael French

By Michael French

April 5th 2010 at 1:57PM

'Future has never looked brighter' says CEO Cousens as Reliance buys 50 per cent share

Codemasters has today confirmed that India's Reliance Big Entertainment has bought a 50 per cent stake in the firm alongside existing investor Balderton Capital.

Reliance's gaming division, Zapak Digital Entertainment, will oversee the Codemasters investment.

Zapak is the largest gaming company in India, and already has interests in online casual games, MMOs, a chain of gaming cafes and physical distribution of software. It also controls mobile games studio Jump Games.

Codemasters has a develoment resource of close to 300 staff in the UK.

Rod Cousens, CEO of Codemasters, said: "The opportunities arising from this partnership are truly exciting. This is great news for our development and publishing teams.

"Reliance and Zapak have immense resources and will help us realize the full potential of our game coding and online excellence across so many platforms, and especially in the world's fastest growing markets. The future of Codemasters has never looked brighter. It's a whole new game!"

Codemasters' annual revenues have been pegged at $150m in the announcement of the deal - it is currently responsible for best-selling racing game franchises and the Ashes Cricket series, amongst others.

Zapak plans to help grow those franchises to new platforms, said Rohit Sharma, CEO: "We are excited to partner with Codemasters and believe it's very strong technology, development and distribution presence will complement our global gaming portfolio.

"Additionally, Zapak's global strength in mobile gaming will enhance Codemasters' ability to fully leverage its attractive franchises such as its racing and cricket games."

Other investor Balderton Capital had first invested in Codemasters in 2005 and helped oversee the firm's transformation under Cousens.

Tim Bunting, Balderton Partner, said: "We are delighted to welcome Reliance as our partner in Codemasters and gratified by the confidence in Codemasters that Reliance's initiative represents."