Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard has acquired King, the developer behind the popular mobile game Candy Crush Saga, for $5.9 billion. Proclaiming itself as "a new global leader in mobile gaming", King boasts of over half a billion players in 196 countries.
Riccardo Zacconi, CEO of King, stated:
We are excited to be entering into this Acquisition with Activision Blizzard. Since 2003, we have built one of the largest player networks on mobile and Facebook, with 474 million monthly active users in the third quarter 2015, and our talented team has created some of the most successful mobile game franchises. 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.
Besides Call of Duty, Activision Blizzard is also the publisher behind a variety of notable franchises such as World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Starcraft, Diablo, Guitar Heroes, Skylanders and Destiny. By acquiring King, the company hopes to position itself favorably on the mobile front as well, establishing itself as a global leader across console, mobile and PC platforms.
Bobby Kottick, CEO of Activision Blizzard went on to say that:
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's game portfolio includes Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga, which are two of the top five highest-grossing mobile games in the U.S. However, given that the consumer spending on the former dropped 13% year-on-year, many speculate that the time of King is over, similar to what happened to Angry Birds developer, Rovio.