Candy Crush Maker Believes It's Worth $7.6 Billion

Mar 13, 2014 03:47 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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"Candy Crush Saga" maker King Digital Entertainment Plc. expects to be worth approximately $7.6 billion once it goes public later on this month in the United States.

The Dublin-based company hopes to continue to benefit from its focus on the estimated $17 billion market for mobile game apps, while avoiding a similar fate that rivals like Zynga Inc. have experienced.

Zynga is one of the many companies struggling in its attempt to make its games popular on phones as they are online, according to Reuters.

"Candy Crush," was the most downloaded free app and top revenue-grossing app in 2013.

The game, which involves forming a line of three candies that are the same color, accounted for almost three-quarters of King's revenue last year.

Dublin-based King said on March 12 that it expects its IPO at around $21-$24 per share, valuing it at up to $7.6 billion, according to Reuters.

This would be slightly higher than Hasbro Inc, a 90-year old company, known for making Monopoly, Nerf, and Scrabble.

"I think the bankers have priced the deal in a way so that initial investors can realize a first-day pop in the stock," said Josef Schuster, founder of IPOX Schuster, according to Reuters.

Riccardo Zacconi, has led King since co-founding the company in Sweden in 2003. He will hold a 9.5 percent stake in King after the IPO, according to Reuters.

Zacconi, 47, previously worked with online dating site uDate.com Ltd till it was purchased in 2002 by InterActive Corp.

"I think the valuation of a P/E ratio of 13 for a high-growth company is indeed reflecting a skepticism about the ability to continue growing at such a rapid pace," said Jay Ritter, a professor and IPO expert at the University of Florida.

Candy Crush launched on Facebook in April 2012. An app was released for Apple devices in November of that year, and for Android devices a month later.

It has been downloaded over 500 million times since its launch. Games are for free, but players have to pay for extra lives or add-ons.

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