Codemasters, one of the UK’s most significant players in the video game industry, is apparently reigniting plans to float with an IPO. The company had to put the brakes on a similar attempt to go public a decade ago, with the potential flotation stalling due to an indebted balance sheet.
According to reports on Sky News, current majority owner Reliance Big Entertainment Limited (RBEL) fired the starting pistol on this latest attempt to list by getting in touch with a number of banks regarding a public listing of shares.
Founded in 1986, the team's drive ensured that Codemasters’ growth accelerated quickly. The company is now best known for producing Formula One’s official range of games for the PlayStation 4, in addition to a number of other racing games. Codemasters has also drifted into mobile gaming in recent years.
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The company was revving up in pursuit of an IPO in 2007, when the founders sold their stake in the company to Balderton Capital. Despite further interest from Goldman Sachs, the IPO rumours were punctured by the company’s finances and would have received a ‘Did not start’ if this was some kind of Formula One race.
Codemasters is still loss-making, but following the successful flotation of Rovio – creators of the Angry Birds series – in October last year, some believe there is appetite for investment, especially at a time when numbers of mobile gamers have been turbo-charged. According to the article on the Sky News website, one source valued the company at around £100m.
According to the company’s accountants, research suggests that the global video games market will be worth $119bn by 2019, an attractive prospect to potential investors and one that is likely to jump start similar rumours for other gaming companies.
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