Activision Blizzard becomes 'largest game network in the world' with Candy Crush developer buyout

As the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft company adds another huge franchise to its stable, the company now reaches 500 million gamers.

GameSpot staff
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GameSpot staff
2 min read

Activision Blizzard, already one of the largest gaming publishers in the business, has now grown further. The company today announced that it's completed its acquisition of Candy Crush developer King Digital Entertainment. The company paid $18 for each outstanding share, for a total buyout price of $5.9 billion.

Activision Blizzard originally announced its intention to acquire King back in November 2015, at which time it said it expected the deal to be finalized by spring 2016.

According to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, with the acquisition of King, the company's games now reach over 500 million users. This is the "largest game network in the world," he said.

Activision Blizzard

"We see great opportunities to create new ways for audiences to experience their favorite franchises, from Candy Crush to World of Warcraft to Call of Duty and more, across mobile devices, consoles, and personal computers," Kotick said in a statement.

For his part, King CEO Riccardo Zacconi said, "We are thrilled to now be a part of Activision Blizzard and can't wait to start working together. I want to thank everyone at King for all of their hard work since we founded the company 13 years ago. We are excited about the future as we continue developing more exciting games and explore new ways to serve our players and build on the greatest franchises in interactive entertainment."

Though King is now owned by Activision Blizzard, the company will operate independently under the direction of Zacconi. Additionally, King chief creative officer Sebastian Knutsson and chief operating officer Stephane Kurgan are retaining their positions.

With King now a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, the company's shares are no longer publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The acquisition extends Activision Blizzard's portfolio of games, which already included the aforementioned Call of Duty and World of Warcraft juggernauts. Other notable Blizzard franchises include Starcraft, Warcraft, Diablo, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and Overwatch, as well as Activision Publishing's Guitar Hero, Skylanders, and Destiny.