Update 01/27 8:41AM - Jagex has said that Plutos Sama's claims of ownership are baseless. Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, the British developer said it had been acquired by Jagex "regardless of any claims made by third parties". Carlyle Group purchased Jagex from former owner Macarthur Fortune Holding, but the developer says it isn't disclosing the terms of the deal.
TechRaptor has reached out to the parties, but has not received any replies as of yet. We will continue to monitor the siutation.
Original story follows below.
RuneScape developer Jagex has found itself caught in the middle of a legal quagmire. Earlier today, US investment firm The Carlyle Group confirmed it would be acquiring Jagex. However, Delaware-based company Plutos Sama has moved to block the sale and filed for injunctive relief.
What is the controversy surrounding this Jagex sale?
This is an extremely messy, very difficult situation with plenty of legalese to wade through. Essentially, in 2019, Fukong Interactive Entertainment - Jagex's parent company at the time - was forced to sell the RuneScape studio via auction, which Plutos states it won. Plutos proceeded with the purchase through a limited partner, Platinum Fortune. It subsequently became apparent that Fukong was involved in a huge Chinese fraud operation to the tune of around $200 billion, with its partner in Platinum being funded in part by the fraud. Plutos sold its ownership stake in Platinum Fortune to a US-based firm called Macarthur Fortune Holding as a result of the frauduent ties of the partner.
After the sale, Platinum Fortune - and Macarthur by extension - ostensibly owned the rights to Jagex. Plutos is effectively disputing that this is the case; the company is saying that although they transferred their ownership rights for Platinum, the ownership of the Cambridge-based development studio was not included in this transfer. Plutos is further alleging that Fukong executives - including former owner Yan Jinggang - have been repeatedly blocking Plutos from acquiring Jagex through "villainous and nefarious actions". The dispute, therefore, arises because Plutos Sama believes it still has ownership rights, while Macarthur Fortune and Platinum Fortune are laying claim to said rights.
How does the situation stand right now?
This morning, US firm The Carlyle Group announced its intention to purchase Jagex from parent company Macarthur Fortune Holding. It's therefore up to Plutos Sama to prove that it does, indeed, have ownership rights over the British developer. If it can't do so, then it doesn't matter how in the right Plutos Sama believes it is; ownership will default to Macarthur and the deal with Carlyle will go ahead.
It's unclear how all of this has affected gamers or the day-to-day operations of Jagex itself. We've reached out to the parties involved - Jagex, Plutos Sama, Macarthur, and the Carlyle Group - and will bring you more on this situation as it develops.
How do you feel about this controversy? Let us know in the comments below!