Europe’s Largest Indie Game Maker Codemasters Bought Out By Balderton; Goldman Sachs New Investor

Benchmark Capital’s newly christened Balderton European affiliate has gobbled up the remaining shares in veteran British games developer Codemasters ahead of a likely IPO. Balderton first took a 40 percent stake in 2005 and a further 30 percent a year later in a company that was founded in 1986 by teenage brothers David and Richard Darling plus dad Jim. The outfit first found success in the Spectrum/C64 heyday before becoming Europe’s largest independent game maker. Now the VC has purchased the outstanding stake and announced a £50 ($99) million new investment from Goldman Sachs to take it to “the next stage” of “realizing its ambitions to be a global player and readying itself for the digital age”, according to the email. The bank takes a minority stake and would be in prime position to handle the flotation.

Times of London: The move comes prior to a £200 ($396) million offering in either London or New York this year. Although it started by developing humble BMX simulators, Codemasters expects to post annual sales of £75 ($147) million this month on the back of its number-one Lord Of The Rings Online MMPORG and, after releasing the endorsed Colin McRae: DiRT rally game this month, is aiming for £150 ($295) million next year.