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King.com prepares for IPO

Jason Hesse

Social gaming company King.com is preparing for an IPO, according to reports

King.com, the maker of Candy Crush Saga and other popular games, is said to have hired JP Morgan Chase & Co, Credit Suisse and Bank of America to help it prepare for a listing.

The reports, first published by Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal, citing new unnamed sources, also claim that the London-based games developer hasn’t yet made a decision on how big or when the share sale will take place.

The Zynga problem

King.com is the trading name for Midasplayer International Holding Co, which boasts more than 70 million users playing Candy Crush Saga and other titles (including Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga) across a range of platforms – this makes it a bigger player than Zynga, which is said to have 52 million daily active users.

On its own, Candy Crush Saga attracts more than 45 million users, according to app usage statistic tracker AppData, making it the most popular game played on Facebook. The game also generates up to $2.4m in sales every day, according to reports on the Pocket Gamer website.

Although Riccardo Zacconi, King.com’s CEO, has already discussed a possible IPO in the past, the company has not confirmed the latest reports about the company going public.

One thing is certain: should King.com’s IPO happen, comparisons with gaming rival Zynga will be rife. Since Zynga went public in December 2011, shares have tanked by 70 per cent.

Lewis Ward, analyst at IDC, says that there are parallels between the two games makers. “Both companies were fairly dependent on a hit product. King has taken a better approach of monetizing Candy Crush, and it has avoided the buying spree that Zynga undertook after it went public. The key is how well positioned King is on mobile.”

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