Activision Blizzard Becomes "Largest Game Network in the World" With Candy Crush Dev Buyout

Call of Duty, World of Warcraft company adds another huge franchise to its stable.


Activision Blizzard, already one of the largest gaming publishers in the business, has now grown further. The company today announced that it's completed its acquisition of Candy Crush developer King Digital Entertainment. The company paid $18 for each outstanding share, for a total buyout price of $5.9 billion.

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Activision Blizzard originally announced its intention to acquire King back in November 2015, at which time it said it expected the deal to be finalized by spring 2016.

According to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, with the acquisition of King, the company's games now reach over 500 million users. This is the "largest game network in the world," he said.

"We see great opportunities to create new ways for audiences to experience their favorite franchises, from Candy Crush to World of Warcraft to Call of Duty and more, across mobile devices, consoles, and personal computers," Kotick said in a statement.

For his part, King CEO Riccardo Zacconi said, "We are thrilled to now be a part of Activision Blizzard and can't wait to start working together. I want to thank everyone at King for all of their hard work since we founded the company 13 years ago. We are excited about the future as we continue developing more exciting games and explore new ways to serve our players and build on the greatest franchises in interactive entertainment."

Though King is now owned by Activision Blizzard, the company will operate independently under the direction of Zacconi. Additionally, King chief creative officer Sebastian Knutsson and chief operating officer Stephane Kurgan are retaining their positions.

With King now a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, the company's shares are no longer publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The acquisition extends Activision Blizzard's portfolio of games, which already included the aforementioned Call of Duty and World of Warcraft juggernauts. Other notable Blizzard franchises include Starcraft, Warcraft, Diablo, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and Overwatch, as well as Activision Publishing's Guitar Hero, Skylanders, and Destiny.

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Avatar image for rdwolf260

I have to say I've never played Candy Crush and know of only a few people who actually played the game and they never spent any money for it. Considering Activision is at the helm, this is where I see it heading.

Every year there will be a "new" Candy Crush game starting with Candy Crush II this September. The price will go from "free" to $9.99 on mobile phones and $49.99 on consoles, it'll still be free to play on Facebook though. Every 3 months they will release 4 new theme packs that change your candy icons and background images and sounds. Each theme pack will set you back additional $4.99 on mobile phones and $9.99 on consoles...Facebook users will have to pay $29.99 for each theme pack. Oh, and there will be a Candy Crush Companion app available for $14.99/year subscription cost which will allow you to track all your statistics in the game and see how you compare against other players.

Does this sum things up?

Avatar image for bassfrek1987

At what point do antitrust regulations kick in?

Avatar image for hystavito

@bassfrek1987: A point far away :)

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

I hope they never make their money back.

Avatar image for eageron_games

@Thanatos2k: Besides they never made it to generate another hit game like Candy Crush Saga. I think Candy Crush Soda was pretty big but the rest didn't really pull.

Avatar image for PETERAKO

@Thanatos2k: Dont worry they wont. Candy crush was already in dicline when they bought out king.

Avatar image for lostn

Who was the #1 before this?

Avatar image for Artwark

Atleast they aren't anywhere as evil as EA......atleast. :P

Avatar image for lostn

@Artwark: You kidding? See what they did to the Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero franchises.. drove them into the ground. Brought them back with some very shitty releases to pile more dirt onto them.

What about the way they screwed Infinity Ward over?

Avatar image for Artwark

@lostn: Evil as in buying companies and shutting them down? Or not making as much cash grabs as Battlefront?

But still, you're right. There really is no point defending Activison.

Avatar image for michaelsosa8

How is CCS still making money? Are the people who play it that dumb to buy those packs from them? Why not just play a modded version of that game. I play nothing but modded games on my phone, I ain't spending a dime on mobile gaming, f#ck that shit. If you pay money for a 5 dollar game where it would cost you 1000's or more to have all the content in the game, you are f#cking garbage.

Avatar image for louixiii

The guys at King are some happy campers.

Avatar image for nl_skipper

Oh boy, I think this is the first sign of the gaming apocalypse... maybe not, but it's scary all the same!

Avatar image for RoccoHout

Good, the more reason for me to stay away from this game.

Avatar image for Paulf001

WoW almost 6 billion for such a horrible game

Avatar image for gamerboy100

Too bad EA didn't buy them and shut them down.

Avatar image for eageron_games

@gamerboy100: Haha! It would have fit EA also purchasing King! True words! :)

Avatar image for santinegrete

Well, activision can destroy this aberration if you ask me. :)

Kinda wish they came back to Prototype and Singularity.

Avatar image for gamingdevil800

Call Of Destiny: Candy SAGA

Avatar image for deactivated-5893d17ed65b4

Wish GameSpot would quit allowing the Candy Crush mobile advertising to redirect me to King's marketing. It gets old having to hit back twice to be able to read an article here.

Avatar image for nurnberg

Nice priorities Activision. They spent more on this crappy company than all of Blizzard games put together.

Avatar image for deactivated-58183aaaa31d8

And also the worst.

Avatar image for archav3n

$5.9B for candy crush? Oh my.. i'm not sure that's a smart move. Are corporate investors smart these days?

Avatar image for lostn

@archav3n: It was more a case of clever accounting. They had about 10 billion off shore that they couldn't take back to the states without paying half of it in tax. So they spent a good chunk of it buying King which would not be considered profits, so no tax incurred on that. They felt they got a good deal considering taxes they avoid paying.

Avatar image for skyhighgam3r

WOW (No pun intended)

3 of the most horrible and derivative series all under one roof... You know what... good for them for keeping garbage with garbage, they deserve each other.

Avatar image for lostn

@skyhighgam3r: Starcraft 2 is good. The rest of their stuff I can live without. But I'm obviously in the minority since those games sell well.

Avatar image for skyhighgam3r

@lostn: Right? People LOVE their games for whatever reason. I never played StarCraft 2 but the first one wasn't for me. I'm not a big RTS fan though... the only one I got into was Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2.

That game was legit.

Avatar image for derceto

How sad.

Avatar image for atopp399

That will never pay off.

Avatar image for o311rocks

Hopefully they keep Candy Crush crossover stuff to a minimum. I say minimum because you know at least once they will throw some Candy Crush stuff into a Diablo update or some kinda Heroes of the Storm weekend event.

Avatar image for oddsnake

Warcraft Candy Crush. I'd buy that for a dollar.

Avatar image for BabeNewelll

Can crush isn't even a game though

Avatar image for xcollector

Activision has the worst game portfolio. I haven't bought any Activision game since last gen.

Avatar image for wtf_666

That's a great addition to your portfolio Activision!! Candy Crush! What's next, acquiring Kardashian "gaming" company?

Avatar image for Artwark

@wtf_666: Even better, buy Rovio for non stop Angry birds.

Avatar image for _plaguelight_

@Artwark: Call of Birds: Angry Duty