King acquired for $5.9 Billion By Activision Blizzard

In Call of Duty publisher Activition’s largest acquisition since buying Blizzard, the publisher has now acquired Swedish Candy Crush maker for $5.9 billion.

It’s only a bit over a year ago that Microsoft acquired Minecraft creator Mojang for $2.5 billion, but today, Activision smashed that record-high acquisition, as it announced that it will soon own all of King, including company debt.

Activision has announced that King will continue to operate as an independent unit, and for the time being, all 1600 employees will keep their jobs.

A global audience of millions

King went public in 2014, and had 474 million monthly active users in the third quarter of this year alone. With today’s acquisition, that number brings Activision to a total of over 500 million active users, and positions themselves heavily in both the hardcore and casual games markets.

“The combined revenues and profits solidify our position as the largest, most profitable standalone company in interactive entertainment. With a combined global network of more than half a billion monthly active users, our potential to reach audiences around the world on the device of their choosing enables us to deliver great games to even bigger audiences than ever before.”, Activision Blizzard CEO, Bobby Kotick said in a press release.

Not only are the King founders, but also the shareholders who invested in the company since it went public in 2014 can definitely be happy about today’s deal, as Activision has agreed to paying $18.00 per share, which implies a 20% premium over King’s October 30 2015 closing price.

A surprising investment

While King is a lucrative investment, generating about $1.33 billion in revenue in 2014 alone, the acquisition by hardcore PC (and console) publisher Activision came as a bit of a surprise to many. But at $529 million grossed in the second quarter of 2015 already, the investment seems reasonable, and certainly signals that Activision wants to stay relevant in todays’ mobile world.

Lastly, King CEO, Riccardo Zacconi was obviously happy about the acquisition and had the following to say about the sale:

“We are excited to be entering into this Acquisition with Activision Blizzard. Since 2003, we have built one of the largest player networks on mobile and Facebook, with 474 million monthly active users in the third quarter 2015, and our talented team has created some of the most successful mobile game franchises. We believe that the Acquisition will position us very well for the next phase of our company’s evolution and will bring clear benefits to our players and employees.”