Former EA Senior Executives Float Codemasters

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Codemasters, one of the oldest UK games developers and publishers, has floated on the London Stock Exchange. The float on the AIM market in London is targeting a market capitalisation of £280 million with a targeted £15 million from the sale of new shares.

To aid this process, Codemasters have recently announced that they have hired Gerhard Florin, former Electronics Arts Executive Vice-President of publishing and also served on the board of King Digital Entertainment, as Codemasters’ new chairman. He joins Codemasters CEO Frank Sagnier, who also previously worked for Electronic Arts as Vice-President of digital publishing for Europe.

Reliance Big Entertainment, the Indian company that owns Codemasters, is expected to reduce it stake in the company from 90% to around 40% by selling part of its shareholding. This offering of the company’s existing shares are expected to raise nearly £160m for Reliance Big Entertainment, with an additional £10.1m being raised for the company’s executive directors and senior management.

The Darling brothers founded Codemasters in 1986 and have since published or developed game series such as the F1 licensed series of racing games, the Colin McRae series, DiRT, and the long-running Dizzy series. In recognition of the Darling brothers’ contribution to the UK computer games industry they were appointed Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 Queen’s Birthday Honours. The Darling brothers sold their stake in the company in 2007 to Balderton Capital, an investor in technology companies. Codemasters currently employs 500 employees over three UK locations, Southam, Birmingham, and Runcorn in Cheshire.

This news comes hot on the heels of Team 17’s successful £210 million flotation on the AIM market in London earlier in the week.

Founder and CEO of Green Man Gaming, Paul Sulyok had this to say regarding the news: “The successful flotation of Codemasters together with other video game industry leaders such as Team 17 and Sumo shows that the British video games industry is really breaking the glass ceiling and driving fast growth by going public rather than selling off, which was previously the common thing to do. There’s also a greater appetite for video games from the market which is really encouraging for the industry as we see more British businesses being floated.”

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