A 'Candy Crush Saga' IPO may get Wall Street hooked

The parent company of the wildly addictive game might be going public. Its fans are probably too busy playing to notice.

By Jonathan Berr Jun 21, 2013 1:59PM
Boy playing 'Candy Crush Saga' on an iPad (Hayley Louize Ballard/Alamy)When I told my friends that I've resisted the multiple daily offers that I get to play "Candy Crush Saga," one told me I should consider myself lucky. Now it looks like Wall Street wants to join in on the fun.

Multiple media reports are saying "Candy Crush Saga" corporate parent Midasplayer International Holding Co., also known as King.com, is preparing an initial public offering and has hired JPMorgan (JPM), Credit Suisse (CS) and Bank of America (BAC) to handle the deal. The timing of the share sale isn't clear.

King.com has developed a unique business model to lure in suckers -- I mean players -- to "Candy Crush Saga." The objective of the game -- to line up brightly colored candies in rows of three or more -- seems simple enough.

And it's free, at least to start playing. But once people get into "Candy Crush Saga," they soon find themselves addicted.

That's where King.com got creative.

Players need to pay for extras such as additional "lives" to continue playing without interruption or a lollipop hammer that demolishes wayward jujubes. (This makes sense to anyone who's ever played the game.) Whether this gimmick will translate to profits remains to be seen. The U.K.-based company more than doubled its workforce in 2012 and is continuing to expand this year. 

However, other game makers are reporting mixed results.

Rival Zynga (ZNGA), best known for "Farmville" and "Words with Friends," has been struggling. Last month, it announced it would fire 18% of its staff. Though the shares have gained more than 14% this year, they're trading well below their $10 IPO price.

Angry Birds publisher Rovio Entertainment, though, is profitable. The closely held Finnish company reported 2012 net profit of 55.5 million euros ($73.5 million) on revenue of 152.2 million euros ($200.3 million). Rovio has hinted that it may be interested in an IPO, though it hasn't committed publicly to doing one.

"Candy Crush Saga" is phenomenally popular. As the The Wall Street Journal pointed out, it's the most popular app on Facebook, with about 15.4 million daily users. Earlier this year, King.com estimated the game's players had crushed 1 trillion candies, which it says is greater than the number of stars in the Milky Way.

Judging from the game's passionate fans, "Candy Crush Saga" may be the greatest time suck that has ever been created. That's why I'm still resisting. If I started to play, I probably would also get sucked in.

Jonathan Berr is sticking with "Words With Friends." He doesn't own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.


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9Comments
Jun 23, 2013 9:16PM
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More mindless, escapist bull sh*t about to pull in multiple millions; while schools are closing, wars are raging, people are dying of starvation and desease; all over the USA and the rest of the world. Play On, Zombies, Play On!
Jun 21, 2013 2:22PM
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I guess I don't get what is so popular about this? Can someone explain it to me? I've seen numerous collapse games in the past and this doesn't appear to be anything new. What is their angle or hook for this game? Anyone remember Bejeweled from a few years back?

I think its time

Jul 4, 2013 4:27AM
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Great game but I got stuck a lot of times. After buying some in facebook I decided to take action, I looked for a cheat online and found this one http://www.candycrush-saga.net it was only €3 and saved me a lot of money. 99 lives, boosters, and tricks now in level 354... ;)
Jun 27, 2013 2:07PM
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Whats up with Wall street :O... For some more info check this website I made for Candy Crush.. 
Jun 24, 2013 6:28AM
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This is what ''Wall Street'' is ''buzzing over''- - - SERIOUSLY? ? ? ?  WOW- - - How LOW do they GO? ? ? ?
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