Candy Crush Firm Worth $7.1bn In Market Debut
The British company behind the online game Candy Crush Saga has raised $499.5m in an IPO that values the firm at about $7.1bn (£4.2bn).Shares priced at $22.50 (£13.06) each – the middle of King Digital Entertainment plc’s expectations for the floatation.
The company is selling 15.3 million of the 22.2 million shares, and the rest of the stock will be sold by existing shareholders.
The shares are expected begin trading on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “KING”.
Candy Crush and King’s other games have seen the firm recently squeeze out the once-dominant Zynga.
Established in 2002, King’s business soared in the past two years thanks to the spectacular popularity of Candy Crush.
Boasting some 97 million players worldwide daily, Candy Crush involves players lining up sweets and bon bons through 500 increasingly difficult levels.
It is now the biggest game for users on Facebook, having ousted Zynga’s Farmville.
But the addictive qualities of Candy Crush, and the company’s ability to make money from users on computers, tablets and cellphones paying extra to help them advance through its 500 levels, underpin the high valuation.
The company says its games, which also include Farm Heroes and Pet Rescue, are installed on 600 million mobile devices, and played over 1.4 billion times a day – more than one billion alone for Candy Crush.
But analysts have cautioned that King’s long-term earnings viability remains questionable owing to its business being heavily reliant on a single product.
Research firm PrivCo noted that King itself estimates the average lifespan of a paying player on a particular game at two to nine months.
King, which has its main offices in London’s Tottenham Court Road and Sweden, said it would use the proceeds from its floatation for working capital and other general corporate purposes.
Like many IT companies operating in Europe, King has registered its headquarters in Ireland.