King, the maker of ‘Candy Crush Saga’, had a lacklustre first day of trading following its IPO, as investors appeared unconvinced of the company’s ability to produce another global hit.
King raised $500 million (valuing the company at around $7 billion) when its shares were sold to investors at $22.50, the mid-point of the $21-$24 price range proposed by the company in its IPO filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
But once the shares started to trade under the KING ticker in New York, they opened at $20.50, and fell to $19 at the close of trading, a 15.6 per cent first-day drop. At the time of writing, the shares had fallen to $18.51 on the second day of trading after initially recovering slightly to $19.50.
According to The Wall Street Journal, King’s opening day of trading was the worst of any IPO in 2014, after it stripped $1 billion from the company’s market value during the course of the day’s trading.
The IPO included 22.2 million shares, with King receiving $350 million and early investors (such as private equity firm Apax Partners) netting $150 million from their respective share holdings. Underwriters have been granted the option to sell another 3.3 million shares.
King’s long-term success on the stock market will depend on its ability to follow-up on the huge success of ‘Candy Crush Saga’.
It is heavily reliant on the game, which accounted for 78 per cent of King’s bookings (the total spent on games and virtual items) in the fourth quarter of 2013. ‘Candy Crush Saga’ alone had 97 million daily active users with 1.07 billion daily game plays in February.
King claimed to have 144 million daily active users across all of its games in February and 1.4 billion daily game plays. It had three games in the top 10 grossing game apps in Google Play, Apple’s App Store and Facebook, although none have come close to the success of its most famous title.
In its IPO filing, King revealed it made $567.6 million profit in 2013 on revenue of $1.88 billion. This compares to a profit of $7.8 million in 2012, on revenue of $164.4 million. It made a $1.3 million loss in 2011, on $63.9 million in revenue.
Most of the company’s revenue came from in-game sales of virtual items. It averaged 12 million monthly unique payers for its games, meaning around 3.7 per cent of its 320 million monthly unique players shelled out.
King was reported to have delayed its IPO in December to demonstrate it has other products in the pipeline, rather than being a one-hit wonder looking to capitalise in the short term.