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Cambridge games developer Jagex acquires US-based Pipeworks Studios

Jagex has acquired Pipeworks Studios, a 200-person games development business as it looks to grow its footprint in North America.

It represents the first studio investment from the Cambridge Science Park-based games developer and publisher, best-known for its Runescape franchise.

Phil Mansell, CEO of Jagex
Phil Mansell, CEO of Jagex

And it follows a spell of high growth for Jagex, which has posted five years of record games-as-a-service revenues, while also confirming third-party publishing deals and celebrating its highest ever membership number for the RunesCape franchise, which can now be played on mobiles.

Jagex was itself acquired by global investment firm Carlyle in 2021, with an eye on bolstering its growth through mergers and acquisitions.

[Read more: Jagex Partners to publish This Means Warp space management game from Outlier Games]

Oregon-based Pipeworks, which was established in 1999 and is led by CEO Lindsay Gupton, has shipped more than 125 games and is deeply embedded in franchises for partners such as EA Sports, Wizards of the Coast, Activision, Genvid, MetaTeq and others.

Jagex CEO Phil Mansell said: “We are delighted to welcome Pipeworks into the Jagex family.

“Pipeworks presents an incredible opportunity to bring onboard world-class game development talent. The studio brings elite-level game development expertise, specifically in AAA games-as-a-service, with an exemplary track record of collaborations with the world’s best game creators.

“Lindsay and his team have been running a successful and profitable group for many years, and we look forward to working together to publish Pipeworks’ developed IP and accelerate its growth.”

Pipeworks will continue its independent business model of developing and co-developing games with publishing partners and clients.

Lindsay Gupton, CEO of Pipeworks. Picture: Athena Delene
Lindsay Gupton, CEO of Pipeworks. Picture: Athena Delene

Mr Gupton said: "This is an opportunity for us to level up once again because we each bring our own distinct experiences to the partnership.

“Jagex’s approach of providing a leading platform for developers to create lasting and content-rich community-driven games fully aligns with Pipeworks' work-for-hire model and focus on building innovative games and technology.‘

[Read more: Jagex working with Steamforged for release of Runescape as a board game]

Michael Wand, MD and co-head of the Carlyle Europe Technology Partners advisory team, said: “In January 2021, Carlyle acquired Jagex to support the next phase of the company’s growth, including maintaining a focus on its core RuneScape franchise while further diversifying the business and its portfolio. The acquisition of Pipeworks is in line with this strategy, and we are delighted to support Jagex with this transaction.”

The terms were not disclosed.

Aream & Co acted as Sumo Group’s exclusive financial advisor and Allen & Overy as its legal advisor and Linklaters acted as legal advisor to Jagex.

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