Activision Blizzard is to pay $5.9bn to acquire King Digital Entertainment, the London-based group behind the hugely popular Candy Crush Saga mobile games, in the gaming industry’s biggest deal since Microsoft bought Minecraft last year.
Describing the deal, King CEO Riccardo Zacconi said that his company had built one of the largest networks of players on Facebook and on mobile devices, noting that King's games had 474 million monthly active users in the third quarter of 2015.
With the acquisition, Activision Blizzard will have added two of the top five highest grossing US mobile games to its already formidable war chest of intellectual properties, including Call of Duty, World of WarCraft, StarCraft, Hearthstone, Guitar Hero, Destiny and others.
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said 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.”