Greed killed 'Candy Crush' maker's debut

The King Digital deal was disastrous, and it didn't have to be. But you know the bankers won't quit just yet.

By Jim Cramer Mar 27, 2014 10:53AM

A mascots dressed as a characters from the mobile game They were all around me, these silly characters. They paraded onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, and they might as well have worn Cole Porter signs that said, "We're the top!" Because they sure were, at least for the cohort that is the endless parade of initial public offerings.

Rarely have I ever seen an accident waiting to happen as I did with the deal for "Candy Crush Saga" maker King Digital (KING). I don't blame management, either. As I said to CEO Riccardo Zacconi: Look, your banker did you a real disservice. I compared the story positively with Zynga (ZNGA) just a week ago, and I had high hopes that, if the deal were priced right, money could be made.

But after the declines in the IPOs from last week -- and they are all down horrendously -- it's suddenly a changed world. It had to be obvious to the banker that you had to price this one at the lower end of the $20-$22 range. They ran the books. They had to have had an advanced peek.

That is why I told Zacconi to go tell the investment banker, "Thanks for nothing, you clown." There are few things more damaging for a company's image than a broken deal. logoOn paper the deal made sense, because the company is profitable. It was not Zynga. It makes money, and it has a decent price-to-earnings multiple. But the fact is, this market could not handle a $7 billion deal. It might have been able to do so even 10 days ago, before all of this merchandise came, again -- though only at the low end of the range. I have to tell you, when you are in the thick of things on Post Nine in the New York Stock Exchange, it's clear as day that this one "didn't have the votes."

What should King have done? Well, in the lead-in to the deal, it could have kept the price lower in order to see if it could attract more buyers. Then it could have slowly walked it up -- but not to nearly as high a level as it did, because there was obviously no demand whatsoever at $22. You have to wonder either how King could have been so wrong, or so stiff-necked, as to not be willing to use the lower end of the $20-$22 range.

As I said before the stock opened, why did this deal have to come at all? Why now? Why not in December, when the conversions for paying customers were still going higher?

Of course, the CEO wouldn't go there and answer my questions about how this could be so botched. They never do. Probably under some instructions by some lawyer to say nothing.

But this was, indeed, the deal too far, and it did shoe the saturation and ennui out there for deals.

Is it really the top? I hope it is for the underwritings. There's too much stock, too many new companies and too many stocks that went to outrageous premiums and are now floating back to earth -- or, soon, under the print price.

But you know the bankers won't quit yet. That's not their way. More to come, but maybe just not as visibly bad as "Candy Crush," whose creator, alas, could have debuted well if it weren't for greed.

Jim Cramer headshot

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Mar 27, 2014 11:33AM

That Candy Crush even debuted says nothing so much as "Internet Froth 1999." Let's hope it dies a quick death and, in doing so, promotes putting the brakes on such nonsense. Bridges are to be traveled, not sold.

Mar 27, 2014 11:13AM

"They were all around me, these silly characters. They paraded onto the floor"


Ringling Brothers Circus.......... The clown parade with Bobo and friends.

Mar 27, 2014 2:23PM

Good old Ronnie.....One of the "best parts" he ever got play, and as usual he played it like the B or C "actor" he was....His wife was a bitch too...

Best thing I can remember is a couple one liners..."I don't Recall that" or "there you go again."

Actually Reagan "couldn't recall much of anything" and is/was one of the piss poor Presidents of our time...He left a lot of unfinished business on the table...

One of my regrets; Was voting for him the "first time", when I was a "clueless Republican."

I Came from a Repub family and hadn't seen the light yet..

Reagan didn't know who he was or the office he held the last 4 years, at least...

And left us with problems in the Middle East, that we are still dealing with today...

Was also a lot of the precursor to the "downfall of Unions" and pre-destruction of the Middle Class.

Even though he had been a Union president, once upon a time...

A "rich man's" President, bought and paid for by rich Conservatives, that he paid back for over 30 years...

nothing makes sense anymore -- Why a trendy game like candy crush is going for billions??
Like the federal reserve said that all 100 largest banks passed the stress test and are ready for the next recession. Then a day later they say the largest 5 banks wanting to increase their dividends with stock buy back are way too weak to allow this to happen.

SO MUCH FOR THE BANK STRESS TESTS they are meaningless.

Now the Feds are saying they have created bubbles -- tell me about it the economy is weaker now and stocks have gained 120 percent from their lows. Talk about a bubble about ready to burst. Get your money out now before it folds.

But wait the US dollar is about to implode once we put sanctions on Russian oil and they start selling it in Euros or Yuan or the rupee and trash the US Petrodollar. Yep that will be shooting yourself i the foot if we force Russia to sell oil in anything but dollars. 

Mar 27, 2014 11:44AM
Please Bobo - last week you were all jazzed up about this IPO and now AFTER THE FACT you don't like it - you have a link in this piece that implies you were warning about this but it was written after the stock was going down yesterday.

If you want cred why not Predict something BEFORE it happens ...anyone can tell us what already  happened.
Mar 27, 2014 1:13PM
 SS first started to be taxable in 1983 when RONNIE REAGAN was President.  Ronnie Reagan signed that into law.

You remember Ronnie.  He also took away the tax deduction for individuals for personal interest paid on auto loans and credit cards in 1986.   Ronnie Reagan, the one that almost spent us into bankruptcy over defense spending.

Now we all hope the IPO's will save the average American people..
Mar 27, 2014 4:24PM

God bless the folks in Connecticut that won't give up their guns.


Bite me Biden

Mar 27, 2014 11:41AM
"As I said to CEO Riccardo Zacconi: Look, your banker did you a real disservice."

Yep, Bobo would know something about bankers and disservice, now wouldnt he?

I will stick to real candy and tangible products, please.
Mar 27, 2014 4:49PM

Deely Plaza and the Grassy Knoll..

I found the PBS special last night very interesting...

I've been in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area about 4-5 times..

Been to the killing street 3 times and Ruby's Bar once.

I still say the book is open on the "second gunmen", but most of evidence does look compelling.

Never been up in the Library or Book depository...

Walked  around the Grassy knoll a couple times, and just about everywhere else close-by..

Two(2) things not mentioned last night (or I missed it).. Was..

How Oswald got off three(3) shots in 8 seconds, with a rifle bouncing around, with a Scope and a Bolt Action....I've tried that, very hard to hit even a 3' target, and 8 seconds is a short time.

The other factor was leaves on the trees, along the road, even in November..

I've walked and checked that "shoot-line" a couple times; It is NOT a good clear shot at the angle from the 6th/7th floor window; Maybe one but not all of them.

I've stood many places on the grassy knoll and it was a pretty clear open path of fire to the street.

And an easy place to run and hide from, leaving the area going out the back way...

Onlookers said they heard a shot coming from that area and/or saw a muzzle flash...IDK ??

Others pointed that to that area in early footage...

Even with crowd and street noise, you can here a rifle crack/shot of that caliber...


Some of the area looks quite a bit different today, looked a bit different on TV last night too..

Appears some trees have been removed....And the knoll and Plaza have changed somewhat..

If memory serves me correct there is/was a Plaque on the sidewalk, where Kennedy was hit on the street in the limo.

Like I said much of the forensics looked compelling for One(1) shooter last night..

And how the bullets/slugs reacted, along with the firing line and activity motions..

But there is still the type of gun used, from the high location..

The foliage on the trees that were there...

And witnesses that were pointing or looking back at the knoll or running and scared.

If you had ever been there back in the early-mid 60s, it would make you wonder..?

Then the Cuban and Russian connection, along with Ruby(a dying man) killing Oswald..

Plus the Warren Commission sealing the records for 75 years...? 

Another little tidbit is all the people that died, while they were doing closer research of the incident, maybe just a coincidence..??

And I never brought up the hatred from the Mob of Bobby and JFK..


Mar 27, 2014 2:29PM

I meant a Turkish girl in Juarez once, said she was from Istanbul...

I think she was lying and lived in El Paso, her Dad was here taking training at Fort Bliss...

She said I was tasty... 

Mar 27, 2014 12:53PM

don't IPO's usually go poorly on their 1st day out anymore? 


no doubt whoever got their stock handed to them with no selling restrictions sold them ASAP.  then perhaps buys a few back later in the day. 

Mar 27, 2014 2:09PM
Another day, Another Cramer Column trashed.

If there is something we Americans can do well, its violate the landscape.

Will there be an IPO for that soon?   Adieu to all, Sayonara  to Akischlomo.
Mar 27, 2014 11:58AM
If you haven't felt the rush to let out all these IPO's then you haven't been listening.  We are seeing the tail end of this Bull Market and folks feel a bit of necessity to either get these out soon or not have as good of demand for them in the future.  Folks who want these released now feel that it may cost them if they don't.  Kind of the true meaning of greed I would say.
Mar 27, 2014 11:35AM

Well yeah....I mentioned this yesterday....Candy Crush was getting "squashed", down about 15% one time, when I looked...

Many IPO investors and money peoples viewed King Digital as a "one trick pony" going in; They had the one Addictive Game and some older ones, but nothing "earth shaking" coming up...

Although KING has been turning a profit or near profit, future was discerning for the $20+ price they were offering...

We had the offer and is probably one our trading house would have filled, one that had a chance of being a dog...

Several IPOs coming out, too many are only "barking and no bite", just like Zynga...IPOs can be very TWICKY....Just like Fatty or Slackimoto.....Buyer Beware.

Mar 27, 2014 3:58PM

Harry Reid takes stupidity to an art form.


It's the internet's fault........... waaaaaaaaaaa waaaaaaaaaa... it's people that don't know how to use the internet........waaaaaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Nevermind that the website didn't work and is still not complete.

Mar 27, 2014 4:17PM
They are scrambling around like roaches that just had the light turned on to distance their selves from this joke of a law. Hoping they can get re-elected.
Mar 27, 2014 4:12PM
I wonder if we will have as many delays on ObummerCare as QE's?
Mar 27, 2014 2:38PM
I never thought I would say this but ........ How about a market report CGT11.
Mar 27, 2014 12:53PM
I think Little Beav's identity hijacker hit again.
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