Today the company announced they are looking to do an IPO. The company will look to trade under the symbol KING.
CNET covered the story
King Digital Entertainment, a digital-gaming provider perhaps best known for its Candy Crush Saga title, has filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to go public.
King’s statement with the SEC is exceedingly short on details, due in main part to the company deciding right now how many shares will actually be offered, who will be offering those shares, and when it will finally go public. However, the filing statement does indicate that nearly 120 million shares were outstanding as of 2013. It’s not clear how many of those will be offered to the public.
Still, the filing peels back the curtain on just how big a casual-gaming company can be. According to its filing, King Digital generated $1.9 billion in revenue last year, up from $164 million in the prior year and $63.9 million in 2011. Its profits jumped to $567.6 million. The massive growth is due in large part to a significant uptick in gamers playing its titles. The average monthly unique users for all its games in the fourth quarter was 304 million. In the fourth quarter of 2012, that figure stood at 43 million.
With the filing of an IPO its easy to see why they were trying to secure trademarks before going public. It still remains to be seen if they will get the trademark for candy as it is open for opposition. King continues to be angering gamers and other independent game makers.
A few days ago Gareth Halfacree of Bit Gamer wrote:
A small development company claims it is the latest victim of King.com’s attempts to trademark various common words, while raising questions on just how original the company’s biggest success Candy Crush Saga truly is.
Casual gaming giant King, often referred to as the new Zynga, has been in for a rough time on the public relations front of late thanks to a decision by the company’s legal department to aggressively chase trademark infringement – even when such infringement would appear to be non-obvious. When it looked to force The Banner Saga to drop the word ‘saga’ from the title, the company earned the ire of the site’s fans – and was then further accused of directly ripping off another developer’s work in a title which additionally infringed on Namco’s copyrights.
Along with that Gamespot wrote that another developer created Candy Swipe two years before Candy Crush Saga came out.
But the issue Ransom is currently fighting deals with a trademark dispute. Ransom writes, “When you attempted to register your trademark in 2012, I opposed it for ‘likelihood of confusion’ (which is within my legal right) given I filed for my registered trademark back in 2010 (two years before Candy Crush Saga existed). Now, after quietly battling this trademark opposition for a year, I have learned that you now want to cancel my CandySwipe trademark so that I don’t have the right to use my own game’s name.”
Ransom alleges that King purchased the rights to a game called Candy Crusher, which allows them to challenge his own trademark containing Candy. According to the US Patent office, the Candy Crusher trademark is still held by Harrier Software, but this could be referring to a separate filing. Ransom provides a link to his own trademark opposition paperwork, which have gone back and forth with King, for the past year.
King.com should really think about clearing these issues up before going public.