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We woke up today to a world where Activision is now, overnight, one of the biggest mobile gaming publishers in the world. And Wall Street seems OK with the deal.
Activison’s stock price marched past $37 in value for the first time ever around lunch time today before closing out trading at $35.82. That’s up 3.62 percent from yesterday, and it is up 7.5 percent from the opening price of $33.35 this morning. Investors were most likely responding positively to landmark news that Activision is dropping $5.9 billion to acquire mobile publisher King, the company responsible for the megalucrative Candy Crush smartphone games. But it also doesn’t hurt that Activision had a stellar third quarter that outpaced analyst expectations.
For reference, Activision’s share price was around $19 in November 2014.
Of course, King’s stock also got a huge boost of 14.8 percent to finish the day at $17.84, but that’s what you should expect when a company like Activision swoops in and agrees to buy the company for $18 per share.
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So the real story here is that, generally speaking, investors seem to think Activision spending $5.9 billion to fully jump into the mobile space is a good idea.
“This is huge,” Newzoo chief executive and top analyst Peter Warman told GamesBeat earlier today. “It creates the biggest games powerhouse in the Western world, only second to Tencent on a global scale. With game publishers becoming true cross-screen and transmedia companies, this is a huge move and gives Activision Blizzard a unique reach across all screens on a global scale.”
And that reach is likely unparalleled, at least in the West. Activision already had massive console and PC gaming hits that span multiple genres and business models. This includes Call of Duty on consoles and PC, World of Warcraft as a subscription-based massively multiplayer online game, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft as a fast-growing free-to-play PC and mobile app.
But King has 500 million monthly active players, and it’s likely that a significant portion of that audience does not already give Activision money.
So this Activision expansion seems to make sense because the publisher is sticking to its area of strength with games and investing in a sector of that business that it does not already have a firm grasp on.
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