Candy Crush maker King Digital valued at more than $7 billion in IPO

Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:54pm EDT

A woman poses for a photo illustration with an iPhone as she plays Candy Crush in New York February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

A woman poses for a photo illustration with an iPhone as she plays Candy Crush in New York February 18, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

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(Reuters) - Mobile game maker King Digital Entertainment Plc said that its IPO was priced at $22.50 per share, which would value the maker of "Candy Crush Saga" at about $7.08 billion when it goes public on Wednesday.

King's offering of 22.2 million shares would raise about $500 million at that price, which is at the mid-point of its planned $21-$24 price range.

King, founded in Sweden in 2003, will sell 15.3 million shares in the offering with the rest being offered by selling stockholders, including Apax Ventures.

Apax is the company's largest shareholder and will have a 44.2 percent stake in the company, if underwriters fully exercise their option to buy shares.

The offering marks the largest U.S. IPO from a booming mobile gaming industry that has been keen to emerge from the shadow of Zynga Inc, the social gaming firm that lost half its value after a 2011 IPO that valued it at $7 billion.

Dublin-based King, which hopes to avoid Zynga's fate because of its stronger focus on a mobile gaming market worth an estimated $17 billion, sold 15.5 million shares in the offering.

Riccardo Zacconi, who has led King since co-founding the company in Sweden in 2003, will hold a 9.5 percent stake in King after the IPO.

The company's shares are scheduled to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday under the symbol "KING."

King, formerly known as "King.com," was saved from bankruptcy only by a last-minute infusion of investor capital on Christmas Eve in 2003 and survived to eventually turn a profit in 2005 - and every year since.

JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and BofA Merrill Lynch acted as lead underwriters for the offering.

(Reporting by Avik Das in Bangalore; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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