Publishing Behemoth Activision Blizzard has announced that it will acquire King Digital Entertainment for the not inconsiderable sum of $5.9 billion. King is the company behind mobile hits like Candy Crush Saga and Bubble Witch Saga and is the sworn enemy of productivity the world over. The acquisition of King will turn Activision Blizzard, according to a release, into “one of the largest global entertainment networks, with over half a billion combined monthly users active in 196 countries.”
The deal is subject to approval by the Irish government, and King’s shareholders, but should be completed by Spring 2016, according to the publisher. King will continue to operate as an independent unit under CEO Riccardo Zacconi, chief creative officer Sebastian Knutsson, and chief operating officer Stephane Kurgan.
The acquisition of King will add two of the highest-grossing mobile games in the U.S (namely Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga) to Activision Blizzard’s portfolio. Last year, King generated $2.1 billion in adjusted revenue, and in 2014 they had 533 million active monthly users, with its titles being played more than 1.5 billion times per day. In its most recent quarter, these numbers had dipped slightly to 474 million monthly active users.
The addition of King to its already colossal business offers “potential cross-network growth opportunities,” according to Activision Blizzard, with CEO Bobby Kotick going on to state that “the combined revenues and profits solidify our position as the largest, most profitable standalone company in interactive entertainment.”
It’s easy to demonize Activision in this deal and assume that they’re aiming to apply King’s micro-transaction gaming model to a slew of their own properties and titles, but with the deal not being finalized until Spring of next year, it’ll be a while before we have any real news on what this deal might mean or what the results from it will be for Activision and King alike.
As always, though, we’ll keep you posted when we hear more.