‘Candy Crush’ maker to be bought by ‘Call of Duty’ bosses for $5.9 bln

U.S. video game producer Activision Blizzard announced it was buying King Digital Entertainment

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U.S. video game producer Activision Blizzard announced late Monday that it was buying King Digital Entertainment, best known for its "Candy Crush Saga" mobile game, for $5.9 billion.

Activision Blizzard, which produces such games as "Call of Duty," said in a statement the purchase "will create one of the largest global entertainment networks with over half a billion combined monthly active users in 196 countries."

California-based Activision Blizzard has some of the best known video game titles on the market, including "World of Warcraft," "Diablo," "Guitar Hero," "Skylander" and most recently "Destiny."

Activision Blizzard said it believes the addition of King's business, which it called highly-complementary, will position it "as a global leader in interactive entertainment across mobile, console and PC platforms."

It added that the move "positions the company for future growth."

Since 2003 King Digital has "built one of the largest player networks on mobile and Facebook, with 474 million monthly active users in the third quarter (of) 2015," King CEO Riccardo Zacconi said in the joint statement.

The "Call of Duty" series is one of the best selling console games in the world, while the addictive "Candy Crush" is among the most popular games on mobile devices.

The purchase, approved by the boards of directors of both companies, has King's shareholders receiving $18.00 in cash per share "comprising a total equity value of $5.9 billion and an enterprise value of $5.0 billion," according to the statement.

That represents a 20 percent premium over King's closing price on October 30, it added.

The transaction should be completed by the second quarter of 2016, assuming approval from regulators.

"The combined revenues and profits solidify our position as the largest, most profitable standalone company in interactive entertainment," said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

"With a combined global network of more than half a billion monthly active users, our potential to reach audiences around the world... enables us to deliver great games to even bigger audiences than ever before."

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