The company that brought the world the addictive puzzle game “Candy Crush Saga” is hoping that investors will line up for a piece of its stock as well.
The game maker, King Digital Entertainment, filed Tuesday for an initial public offering in the United States. The company has reported enormous growth in its revenues, but prospective investors may be wary of players’ tiring of paying to match virtual pieces of sugar.
The company, which is based in Ireland but counts London and Stockholm as important bases, is now betting that its explosive growth in revenue and profitability will help it attract a multibillion-dollar valuation.
King is the latest in a number of European social game makers that have become fast-growing global champions. Supercell, the Finnish company behind the “Clash of Clans” and “Hay Day” franchises, raised $1.5 billion last year from SoftBank of Japan, at a valuation of around $3 billion.
And Wooga, a Berlin-based startup, has created a string of social gaming hits like “Jelly Splash” that continue to top the charts on both Apple’s iTunes Store and Google Play.
But King is the biggest and best known, a company nearly 11 years old that was already mostly profitable by the time “Candy Crush” made its debut in 2012. That game, in which players try to line up three or more matching types of candy, has become one of the biggest successes since Rovio’s “Angry Birds” franchise first took flight.
Though the company set a $500 million fund-raising target in its prospectus, it will most likely seek to raise significantly more. It isn’t for survival: The company said in its filing that its profit surged significantly last year, to $567.6 million from $7.8 million. Revenue climbed enormously as well, to nearly $1.9 billion.