Codemasters, one of the oldest names in Britain’s video games industry, is laying the ground to make its London Stock Exchange debut more than a decade after aborting an earlier plan.
Sky News has learnt that Codemasters’ Indian owner has approached banks about a public listing of the company’s shares in the coming months.
Codemasters, which produces Formula One’s official range of games for the Playstation 4 console and a range of mobile devices, has been majority-owned by Reliance Big Entertainment Limited (RBEL), which is affiliated to one of India’s largest conglomerates, since 2013.
Founded in 1986 by brothers David and Richard Darling, the company originally made games for the Commodore PC and Spectrum console.
It is now focused on racing games, and includes DiRT Rally and Micro Machines among its portfolio of titles.
The founders sold their remaining stake in 2007 to Balderton Capital, an investor in technology-led companies, while Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street bank, also took a financial interest in the company.
The move was designed to be the precursor to a flotation but was abandoned when it became clear that Codemasters needed to refinance its then-indebted balance sheet.
Image: The firm is laying the ground to make its London Stock Exchange debut
The company is loss-making, making it difficult to assess its likely value as a public company, although one City source said it was likely to be worth in excess of £100m.
Codemasters’ revived plan to go public comes at a time of fast-growing demand for games which can be played on the billions of mobile devices used by consumers globally.
Codemasters Group Holdings’ latest set of annual accounts filed at Companies House, which cover the year to March 31, highlight a “golden era of growth” for the gaming industry.
“New platforms and devices, greater accessibility and a variety of business models are all contributing to reach more gamers, anywhere and at any time,” the company said.
“The prospect of [Artificial Reality/Virtual Reality], the growing popularity of competitive gaming with eSport, the addition of engaging digital services and the proliferation of new platforms and technologies enabling more social activity and more immersion will lead to continued growth for many years to come.”
Codemasters’ accounts cited research estimating that the global video games market will be worth $119bn by 2019, with the eSports sector likely to be worth $40bn by 2020.
That prospective growth underlines the recent rush of games publishers to the market.
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Codemasters declined to comment on Wednesday.