King Digital Entertainment, the firm behind the ridiculously addictive game Candy Crush Saga, is going public.
According to the Irish company's Initial Public Offering SEC F-1 filing, King hopes the IPO will raise up to $500 million. The company has not yet decided the price range of each share or how many to list, but will likely look for a multibillion dollar valuation.
In the filing, the company offered some Candy-Crush-like infographics to illustrate just how insanely popular their flagship game is. Candy Crush dominates the company's other mobile games, with roughly 950 million more daily game plays and 78 million daily average users (on average in December 2013) than King's second most popular game, Pet Rescue saga. King has seen soaring growth in the past year, most of thanks to the cult obsession with Candy Crush and the millions of gamers who pay for perks like extra lives and other advantages.
In 2013, King's profit was $567.6 million, per the Wall Street Journal, an exponential increase from its 2012 profit of $7.8 million. The company's revenue jumped from $164.4 million to $1.88 billion that year.
Those numbers, however, aren't necessarily enough to get investors to reach into their wallets. According to Re/code, the fact that Candy Crush — which generates 78 percent of the company's revenue — is so far outpacing King's other games will certainly be viewed by investors as a red flag:
Even though revenue skyrocketed last year, it declined from $621 million in the third quarter to $602 million in the fourth quarter. King says “the decline was driven by a decrease in Candy Crush Saga gross bookings,” even though it is making a concerted effort to diversify into other games like “Pet Rescue Saga”, “Farm Heroes Saga”, “Papa Pear Saga” and “Bubble Witch Saga.”
Wary investors could (and should) look to Zynga as an example. The gaming company behind uber-popular Facebook-based games like Farmville went public in 2011, but has been in freefall ever since, due to the company's inability to launch another game as popular. But the jury's still out on Zynga, which some say could be just as profitable as initially thought. Yahoo Finance writer Kevin Chupka thinks Zynga is due for a comeback, arguing that the company's stock dip was due to their lack of mobile offerings. King, on the other hand, operates primarily in the mobile sphere, relying on mobile apps for seventy percent of its revenue.
The company secretly filed the offering last summer, but held off on announcing, as the Telegraph reported earlier this week that the company may have been experiencing cold feet. So it might be a while before King pushes forward with the plan and actually hits the market. But when they do, it will be under the symbol "KING," so people pouring money into "CNDY" or "CRSH" will be sorely disappointed.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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