Maloney’s VC firm buys European games company

15 Jun 2007

Irish venture capitalist Barry Maloney’s Balderton Capital has acquired the remaining stake in Codemasters, the largest independent video game maker in Europe.

In addition, investment bank Goldman Sachs has provided US$100m in finance to support the company’s growth plans.

Balderton, which was previously known as Benchmark Capital Europe, first invested in Codemasters in 2005, taking a 40pc stake and bought a further 30pc stake.

It has now bought out the remaining interest of the founders David and Richard Darling and their father Jim.

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

Other Balderton investments include stakes in Irish media firm Setanta as well as technology and internet players Betfair, MySQL and Bebo.

Established in 1986, Codemasters is a publisher of critically acclaimed computer games firm based on sports and entertainment properties, including the popular Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar title, which became the No 1 selling computer game across Europe.

In 2006 the former president of Sony Europe’s consumer electronics division Chris Deering became non-executive chairman.

“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,” said Rod Cousens, Codemasters CEO.

By John Kennedy