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|
Want more gaming exits data? Check out the CB Insights Venture Capital Database. Sign up for free below.
This report was created with data from CB Insights’ emerging technology insights platform, which offers clarity into emerging tech and new business strategies through tools like:
- Earnings Transcripts Search Engine & Analytics to get an information edge on competitors’ and incumbents’ strategies
- Patent Analytics to see where innovation is happening next
- Company Mosaic Scores to evaluate startup health, based on our National Science Foundation-backed algorithm
- Business Relationships to quickly see a company’s competitors, partners, and more
- Market Sizing Tools to visualize market growth and spot the next big opportunity