Activision Blizzard has agreed to buy “Candy Crush Saga” maker King Digital Entertainment for $5.9B. Although that represents a more than $1B drop in value for King since its IPO in early 2014, the acquisition of one public gaming company by another still ranks among the largest game industry M&A deals in recent memory.
We used CB Insights data to identify the top 12 exits (based on disclosed valuations) in digital gaming since 2009, to see how the King-Activision deal ranks alongside the other top M&A and IPO transactions involving gaming startups.
There were several companies that counted VCs as notable backers before exit. Zynga, known for its social gaming hit Farmville, exited for $7.7B and was backed by Union Square Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, and Foundry Group, among others (Zynga has a $2.3B market cap as of 11/4/2015). Supercell (known for “Clash of Clans”) also had top VCs as backers including Accel Partners and Index Ventures, among others.
Click on the chart below to enlarge.
Below is a table listing the top 12 digital gaming exits since 2009 from the chart above, with exit data and acquirer (where relevant) included. Three of the top six transactions were M&A deals, including King’s acquisition by Activision Blizzard, the corporate majority deal for Supercell by Softbank, and Microsoft’s purchase of Sweden’s Mojang (known for “Minecraft”).
|Company||Exit Valuation||Acquirer||Exit Date|
|Nexon Holdings||$ 7,200||IPO||Dec-11|
|King Digital Entertainment||$ 7,090||IPO||Mar-14|
|King Digital Entertainment||$ 5,900||Acq P2P||Nov-15|
|Supercell||$ 5,500||Softbank (Corporate Majority)||Jun-15|
|Popcap Games||$ 1,300||Electronic Arts||Jul-11|
|FunPlus – Mature Gaming Assets||$ 960||Zhongji Investment Holdings||Aug-14|
|Tongbu Technology||$ 954||XPEC Entertainment||Oct-14|
|Big Fish Games||$ 885||Churchill Downs||Nov-14|
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