'Candy Crush Saga' creator shares down in debut

Investors seem to be cautious with King Digital Entertainment, after rival game maker Zynga's IPO in 2011 disappointed the stock market.
By Ananth Baliga  |  March 26, 2014 at 11:26 AM
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NEW YORK, March 26 (UPI) -- King Digital Entertainment opened down in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, in an offering that raised $500 million for the Candy Crush Saga maker.

Shares opened at $20.50 Wednesday, down from the initial public offering price of $22.50. The deal valued the game maker at more than $7 billion. It raised $350 million for King and an additional $150 million for early investors like Apax Partners.

King, as a part of the IPO, offered shares at a discount to publicly traded companies like Chinese game developer Giant Interactive Group and rival Zynga.

The conservative approach to King's shares could reflect lessons learned by investors following Zynga's IPO. The Farmville maker, who debuted in December 2011, saw a 5 percent drop in its first day and a whopping 80 percent drop in the subsequent year.

Arvind Bhatia, an analyst at Sterne Agee, said that the company is projected to post $2.62 billion in revenue this year, a 39 percent jump from 2013, but a far cry from the 1000 percent revenue jump seen in 2012.

Candy Crush Saga is an online puzzle game and has 97 million active daily users, accounting for more than 78 percent of King's revenues. The game generates revenue when users buy virtual items, such as extra lives or additional content, for about $1 apiece. Other popular King games are Farm Heroes Saga and Bubble Witch Saga, but each has fewer than 20 million daily users.


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