Activision Blizzard announced it's taking over King Digital Entertainment in a deal valued at $5.9 billion, a 23 percent premium over the firm's closing price on October 30, 2015. King Digital Entertainment is a developer of freemium games and is best known for its Candy Crush series.
The deal is expected to close in Spring 2016 and Activision Blizzard explains the acquisition will establish itself as a global leader in the fast-growing mobile gaming segment. The deal is estimated to be accretive to its 2016 non-GAAP revenue and EPS by approximately 30 percent.
Besides giving the combined firm a large presence in the mobile gaming segment, Activision Blizzard hopes there's potential for significant cross-promoting. The game publisher also says they'll use King's leading mobile capabilities to optimize the existing portfolio to increase digital revenue via micro-transactions, game analytics and mobile marketing.
One surprising aspect of the news is perhaps how large a freemium mobile game maker like King really is, all those tiny microtransactions add up to multi-billion sales! During the last 12 months ended September 30, 2015, Activision Blizzard recorded GAAP revenue of $4.9 billion versus IFRS revenue of $2.1 billion for King. During the same period, Activision Blizzard had GAAP net income of $1.1 billion versus $0.6 billion in IFRS profit for King.
Activision Blizzard, Inc. ("Activision Blizzard") (Nasdaq:ATVI) and King Digital Entertainment plc ("King") (NYSE: KING) today announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which ABS Partners C.V. ("ABS Partners"), a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, will acquire all of the outstanding shares of King for $18.00 in cash per share, for a total equity value of $5.9 billion (the "Acquisition"). The $18.00 per share purchase price implies a 20% premium over King's 30 October 2015 closing price, a 26% premium over King's 30 October 2015 enterprise value (which excludes net cash), a 23% premium over King's one month volume weighted average price per share and a 27% premium over King's three month volume weighted average price per share. The boards of directors of both Activision Blizzard and King unanimously approved the Acquisition, which is being implemented by means of a scheme of arrangement under Irish law. The Acquisition is subject to approval by King's shareholders and the Irish High Court, clearances by the relevant antitrust authorities and other customary closing conditions, and it is currently expected that the Acquisition will be completed by Spring 2016.
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. Activision Blizzard expects that this leading content, together with expertise across subscription, upfront purchase, free-to-play and micro-transaction business models will enhance Activision Blizzard's position as one of the world's most successful interactive entertainment companies. During the last twelve months ended 30 September 2015, Activision Blizzard had non-GAAP revenues of $4.7 billion and King had adjusted revenues of $2.1 billion. During the same period Activision Blizzard had adjusted EBITDA of $1.6B and King had adjusted EBITDA of $0.9 billion. During the last twelve months ended 30 September 2015, Activision Blizzard had GAAP revenues of $4.9 billion and King had IFRS revenues of $2.1 billion. During the same period, Activision Blizzard had GAAP net income of $1.1 billion, and King had IFRS profit of $0.6 billion.
Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard, said, "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."
Kotick, added: "Riccardo, Sebastian, and Stephane are some of the best minds in the business, and we have long-admired King for consistently creating incredibly fun, deeply engaging free-to-play games that capture the imaginations of players across ages and demographics. Activision Blizzard will provide King with experience, support and investment to continue to build on their tremendous legacy and reach new potential. We share an unwavering commitment to attracting and developing the best talent in the business, and we are excited about what we will be able to accomplish together."
Riccardo Zacconi, Chief Executive Officer of King, said, "We are excited to be entering into this Acquisition with Activision Blizzard. Since 2003, we have built one of the largest player networks on mobile and Facebook, with 474 million monthly active users in the third quarter 2015, and our talented team has created some of the most successful mobile game franchises. We believe that the Acquisition will position us very well for the next phase of our company's evolution and will bring clear benefits to our players and employees. We will combine our expertise in mobile and free-to-play with Activision Blizzard's world-class brands and proven track record of building and sustaining the most successful franchises, to bring the best games in the world to millions of players worldwide. We are very much looking forward to working with Activision Blizzard. We have two teams that, together, will have an amazing footprint, innovative technology, and leadership across platforms, and unique, established IPs to delight one of the largest networks of players in the world."
Gerhard Florin, Chairman of King's board of directors, said, "The Acquisition provides a return to King shareholders through the premium that it provides to King's share price and the immediate liquidity that the Acquisition will provide to all of our shareholders upon completion. The King board of directors believes that Activision Blizzard's cash offer is attractive given the balance of future opportunities, risks and competitive forces confronting King's business."