In a massive acquisition, Activision Blizzard has bought Candy Crush creator King for $6 billion, Activision announced Monday night.
The purchase puts one of the most successful mobile game makers under the same umbrella as billions-dollar Activision Blizzard franchises Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.
The company’s King purchase instantly makes Activision Blizzard a top contender in the lucrative mobile game market.
Until now, Activision Blizzard has been taking a measured approach to entering the mobile game business, mainly investing internally, namely with Blizzard’s popular Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft digital card game. King says its network has 330 million unique users.
Activision Blizzard will acquire all of King’s shares at $18 a piece for the total of $5.9 billion. The price per share is a 27 percent premium over King’s average share price over the last three months.
The combination creates an even more substantial game industry powerhouse. Activision Blizzard says it had GAAP revenues of $4.9 billion for the 12 months ended September 30 this year; King had revenues of $2.1 billion for the same period. As for profits during that period, Activision made $1.1 billion, while King made $600 million.
The companies hinted that mobile business models and practices will be applied to various franchises across Activision Blizzard and King's combined portfolio, "from micro-transactions, game analytics and mobile marketing to increase digital revenues."
King's executive management will remain intact under "long-term" employment contracts. Activision said King and its 1600 employees and 12 studios will operate independently from the rest of Activision Blizzard.
The deal, slated to finalize in spring 2016, is subject to approval by King shareholders, Irish High Court, antitrust authorities and other customary closing conditions.
In a prepared statement, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said:
"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."
King CEO Riccardo Zacconi added:
"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. We will combine our expertise in mobile and free-to-play with Activision Blizzard's world-class brands and proven track record of building and sustaining the most successful franchises, to bring the best games in the world to millions of players worldwide. We are very much looking forward to working with Activision Blizzard. We have two teams that, together, will have an amazing footprint, innovative technology, and leadership across platforms, and unique, established IPs to delight one of the largest networks of players in the world."