Tuesday, June 18, 2013

'Candy Crush Saga' developer eyes IPO: Report

Is the current "king" of Facebook gaming planning an IPO? MidasPlayer, which is better known as King -- the logo and name that shows up when the mobile app is started -- is indeed doing so, according to a Tuesday report in the Wall Street Journal.

According to the WSJ's sources, the company has selected a number of banks to help it go public, including Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and Credit Suisse. The sources warned, though, that the pricing and timing of any deal had not yet been completed.

If true, the move shouldn't come as a surprise. In July of 2012, King's CEO, Riccardo Zacconi, said in an interview that he was considering taking the company public sometime in 2013.

However, considering the fortunes of another high-flying Facebook gaming company -- or perhaps we should saying, "formerly high-flying" -- it might be a surprise. The fallout from Zynga's late 2011 IPO has to be felt when thinking of a King IPO.

Zynga's stock price has plunged by over 70 percent from its IPO price of $10 a share. The company has been hit with both declining revenues and monthly users. Zynga has laid off hundreds of employees and has also shut down several offices in recent months.

King's leading game is known to many. "Candy Crush Saga," which launched on Facebook in April 2012 and has since moved to mobile, is the most popular app on the social networking giant, with an estimated 15.4 million average daily users according to AppData's most recent figures.

Unlike Zynga, which has had difficulty translating its success from Facebook to mobile, "Candy Crush Saga" has made the move easily and hugely. It is one of the most frequently downloaded free apps on both iOS and Android. In addition, although free, there are a number of in-app purchases available, and "Candy Crush Saga" is among the highest grossing apps on iOS and Android when those purchases are included.

In May, King said that it had over 70 million daily players across all its games, which -- in addition to "Candy Crush Saga" -- includes titles such as "Farm Heroes Saga" and "Pet Rescue Saga" (can you tell that "Saga" is a trend?).

Meanwhile, the fast-falling Zynga saw its user base drop to 52 million daily active users in the three months ended March 31. That is down from 65 million a year earlier, according to company reports.

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