The company behind the phenomenally popular Candy Crush Saga game will be sold to US computer game company Activision Blizzard in a deal worth $5.9 billion (£3.8 billion), it was announced today (November 3rd).
Activision, which already owns many of the biggest franchises in PC and console gaming such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, is looking to take a leadership role in the mobile video game industry.
Aside from Skylanders, most of Activision’s major franchises don’t have a mobile presence in the US or Europe.
It said the acquisition of King Digital Entertainment would make it a global leader in interactive entertainment across mobile, console and PC platforms, adding the combined firm would have more than half a billion monthly active users in 196 countries.
"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," chief executive Bobby Kotick said in a statement.
Deal awaiting shareholders and regulators' approval
The deal is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2016, assuming approval from shareholders and regulators.
Candy Crush Saga burst onto the scene in April 2012 when it was released on Facebook. The game, which involves moving different coloured sweets to gain a high score or solve a puzzle, proved to be an instant hit on the social network site and was soon expanding. It was released on smartphones from November.
The highly addictive game swept the world with the app being downloaded 500 million times across Facebook, iOS and Android by November 2013, becoming the top downloaded free mobile app of the year.
Off the back of its success, King announced in February 2014 that it would be floating on the New York Stock Exchange with analysts valuing the company at $5 billion.
The Candy Crush Saga producer was eventually valued at more than $7 billion. Activision says it expects the King unit to generate more than $36 billion in revenue by the end of 2015, and grow cumulatively by more than 50 per cent from 2015 to 2019.