Candy Crush was the highest grossing app on both iPhone and iPad in 2013 and there have been rumours for some time that its maker, King, was planning to float.
Today that was confirmed as it was revealed the London-based King Digital Entertainment has filed IPO papers with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). After creating the most popular and profitable smartphone app in history, King hopes to raise as much as $5bn when it floats on the NYSE under the ticker ‘KING’.
The games developer has been one of London’s fastest-growing tech firms in recent years. Last year the firm generated profits of $714m on revenues of $1.88bn from games including Candy Crush, Pet Rescue and Farm Heroes. That rose from just $11m profit the year before on revenues of $164m.
Candy Crush Saga, launched in late 2012, has been responsible for the firm’s rapid ascent. A game in which players match candies in combinations of three or more to win points and defeat obstacles, the game now generates 78% of King’s revenues, and had 93 million daily average users in December 2013.
Some 1 billion Candy Crush games are played each day and it had already been downloaded directly onto mobile phones more than 500 million times by last December. The app is free to download but King makes money from users buying add-ons, extra lives and access to higher levels.
King was created in 2003 by Riccardo Zacconi, Sebastian Knutsson, Thomas Hartwig, Lars Markgren and Patrik Stymne, who had all previously dabbled in tech before the dotcom bubble burst in 2000. The firm has a catalogue of around 150 games and now launches a new game on its website every month.
Here are some recent stats provided by King:
However, some analysts have expressed concerns that Candy Crush could be a one-hit wonder and King may follow the path of Zynga. After the major success of its Facebook game Farmville, Zynga floated in 2011 to feverish anticipation. But many shareholders were left out of pocket after the San Francisco business struggled to create another hit, and its shares have since dropped from $11 a share in December 2011 to around $4.80 today.
There was even speculation at the weekend that King would put its IPO on hold after lukewarm interest from investors.