Just two days after Halloween, Activision’s spending a whole lot of money on candy—the publisher announced tonight that they’ve bought Candy Crush developer King for $5.9 billion. Yes, that’s BILLION.
The mega-acquisition has to go through approval in Ireland, where King is based, but Activision says they anticipate that everything will be official by spring of 2016.
So why is the video game publisher, best known for mammoth series like Call of Duty, spending this much money on such an unusual acquisition? Well, Candy Crush is one of the most lucrative games in the world, earning some $1.33 billion in revenue in 2014 alone according to a King financial statement. The studio, which operates Candy Crush and a number of similar games including Bubble Witch and Farm Heroes, grossed $529 million in the second quarter of 2015. They’ve also got access to a HUGE network of casual gamers that Activision can now access for all sorts of purposes.
Also, as Activision points out in a press release, this gives them a pretty solid monopoly on The Biggest Brands In Gaming:
Activision Blizzard believes that the addition of King’s highly-complementary business will position Activision Blizzard as a global leader in interactive entertainment across mobile, console and PC platforms, and positions the company for future growth. The combined company will have a world-class interactive entertainment portfolio of top-performing franchises, including two of the top five highest-grossing mobile games in the U.S. (Candy Crush Saga®, Candy Crush Soda Saga™), the world’s most successful console game franchise (Call of Duty®), and the world’s most successful personal computing franchise (World of Warcraft®), as well as such well known franchises as Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone®: Heroes of Warcraft™, StarCraft®, and Diablo® and Activision Publishing’s Guitar Hero®, Skylanders® and Destiny, along with over 1,000 game titles in its library.
Said Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in the same 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.
Wait until Activision’s parents found out how much they just spent on this free-to-play game.