GamesBeat

Candy Crush Saga publisher pegs IPO riches for hiring-spree bender

Papa Pear Saga is one of King's smaller but still successful mobile and social games. It plays a lot like PopCap's hit, Peggle.

Above: Papa Pear Saga is one of King's smaller but still successful mobile and social games. It plays a lot like PopCap's hit, Peggle.

Image Credit: King

Social-game publisher King is looking to hire a number of developers, producers, and more to help it build a number of new products to follow up games like Candy Crush Saga and Pet Rescue Saga.

The company plans to increase its employee headcount by 25 percent. It has 165 job openings currently listed for its development locations in North America, Europe, and Asia. This bolstering of its human resources is part of King’s plan for the future, which will have the publisher working to produce and release several new mobile and social games to ensure future growth. King is currently valued at around $6.31 billion and is trading at around $20. That’s primarily due to Candy Crush Saga, which is a free-to-play puzzler game that made more money than any other iOS app in 2013. Last year, mobile gaming generated around $16 billion in spending.

This boost in hiring comes after King raised $500 million in its March 26 initial public offering, which introduced its shares for trading at $22.50 on the New York Stock Exchange. That price immediately took a dive, and it has since hit a low of $17.66 a share. Investors worry that King is deriving the bulk of its value from Candy Crush Saga, and that could turn sour if the game’s players start abandoning it. The company’s chief executive officer, Riccardo Zacconi, isn’t worried about that because he claims King’s strength is its multitude of other, smaller titles.

“I wouldn’t be here if I was not confident,” Zacconi told GamesBeat last week. “The company has a great future.”

He explained that King’s current strategy is to build a portfolio of successful games and that he doesn’t want his teams struggling to re-create another megahit like Candy Crush Saga. That’s likely what the new round of hiring is about — finding employees that can build on King’s current success.

“What are we working on now? Leveraging the network we’ve built with Candy Crush to build our portfolio,” said Zacconi. “The No. 1 target for us is the retention of players. The number of players in our network is constantly growing.”

King has around 150 million monthly active users (MAUs), the mobile gaming industry’s metric for measuring players. Feeding them new experiences on mobile and social will play a key role in maintaining revenues and keeping shareholders happy.

As of the time of this posting, King’s shares are trading at around $20. It has never reached its introductory price of $22.50.

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King is a leading interactive entertainment company for the mobile world, with people all around the world playing one or more King games. King has more than 190 fun titles in over 200 countries. Hits include Candy Crush Saga, Farm Her... read more »

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