Back in June, we were finally able to confirm the rumored $300M March sale of British MMORPG studio Jagex to China’s Shandong Hongda, a company known chiefly for its mining operations. Jagex told the media the new outfit would be part of a group of companies and would be seeking talent and visibility in China “to charge forward with growth projects for RuneScape and its franchise extensions.”
Today, Jagex has announced “its pivotal role in the creation of a new Chinese publicly-listed games company, Zhongji Holding,” which purchased Hongtou to make it all happen. Confused? Don’t be: The companies are all interconnected.
“Zhongji Holding is part of Shanghai Zhongji Enterprise Group, a highly respected and well-established Chinese organization, and its ownership of Jagex represents the first foray into the gaming sector by the group. Shanghai Zhongji Enterprise Group holds two Chinese public companies, Zhongji Holding and Shandong Hongda Mining (SH.600532). The initial trading and operational performance of Zhongji Holding will stem from Jagex’s established business and its proven RuneScape franchise. Further to record profits in 2015, which saw Jagex hit new revenue highs of $88.4 million, with $36.1 million profit after tax, further uplift is expected in 2016.”
Lest you be concerned about RuneScape or Jagex itself, do note that the press release compliments the RuneScape franchise (“accelerated user growth through its impact in the esports sector”) and reminds us that 320 Jagex employees are still positioned in its Cambridge, UK, headquarters. “In addition,” says the PR, “Jagex will expand with the opening of a new London office to sit alongside its Cambridge HQ.”