‘Candy Crush Saga’ Developer King Acquired By ‘Destiny’ Publisher Activision For $5.9 Billion [Breaking]

According to a new report from Kotaku, Candy Crush Saga developer King Digital Entertainment has been purchased by Destiny and Call of Duty publisher Activision for $5.9 billion USD. Activision is also partnered with World of Warcraft developer Blizzard under the Activision Blizzard umbrella corporation.

Candy Crush Saga is a match-three casual puzzle game first released on Facebook in April, 2012. Since that time, Candy Crush Saga and its sequel, Candy Crush Soda Saga have become some of the most successful casual Facebook/mobile games of all time, Candy Crush players spending over $1.33 billion on in-game microtransactions in 2014. Candy Crush Saga has been the most-played game on Facebook since early 2013.

Candy Crush Halloween Sale King holds regular sales – and advertises them constantly – to reach that $1.33 billion. [Image via King/Facebook]According to VentureBeat, Candy Crush Saga blows League of Legends, the “most-played online game” out of the water so far as player numbers go. The game’s Facebook page currently boasts almost 76 million “Likes” and King has reported 158 million daily players and 364 million unique monthly players, trumping League of Legends, at 67 million unique monthly players, by more five times.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick gave a statement about the $5.9 billion purchase in a press release.

“The combined revenues and profits solidify our position as the largest, most profitable standalone company in interactive entertainment. 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.”

“We continue to benefit from our focus on creating the world’s best interactive entertainment. Our incredibly talented employees around the world once again delivered great content and strong financial results. Mobile gaming is the largest and fastest-growing opportunity for interactive entertainment and we will have one of the world’s most successful mobile game companies and its talented teams providing great content to new customers, in new geographies throughout the world. King has a truly fantastic management team and over 1,600 incredibly talented employees and we are excited to welcome them into the Activision Blizzard family.”

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick [Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]According to another press release by Activision Blizzard today, published right after the purchase announcement, Activision Blizzard achieved “better-than-expected financial results” for Q3 2015 – likely on the coattails of Destiny and its new expansion, The Taken King – and is expecting the acquisition of King to further enhance their growth prospectives. Describing King’s business as “highly-complementary,” Activision seems to be planning to increase their “growth across platforms, audiences, genres, and business models.”

While Candy Crush Saga is certainly the best-known of King Digital Entertainment’s games, Activision Blizzard will be acquiring plenty more in the purchase. King’s revenues were listed at $2.26 billion in 2014 and they’ve published a total of 12 games, all with the Saga suffix. Interestingly enough, King is the largest game developer in Facebook’s history, by players and by revenue, in spite of their small list of games; well-known competitor Zynga (creators of FarmVille) have 27 active games on Facebook, and many more that have been discontinued, but don’t even come close to King’s current success. Zynga only showed a profit of $690 million in 2014, down from the previous year, while King’s profits continue to rise.

According to the full press release, King’s shareholders will be receiving $18 per share in the acquisition, representing a 20% premium over the October 30 closing price, 23% over the one-month weighted average and 27% over the three-month weighted average. King will continue to operate as an independent studio overseen by CEO Riccardo Zacconi, CCO Sebastian Knuttson and COO Stephane Kurgan.

By acquiring King, Activision Blizzard adds two of the highest-grossing games in the United States – Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga – to its portfolio. Along with World of Warcraft, the Call of Duty franchise and Destiny, the King acquisition makes Activision Blizzard hands-down the most successful gaming company in the world today.

[Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]