Candy Crush Saga maker buys Z2 to become a Battle Nations King

13 Feb 2015

Candy Crush Saga

London-based games company King, the maker of the popular Candy Crush Saga series, has acquired Seattle games studio Z2 for US$150m.

The purchase of the games company behind Battle Nations and Metalstorm Online had been revealed in King’s fourth-quarter financial results.

“Through this acquisition,” said King, “the company will incorporate a proven team focused on contributing to our diversification into new genres. Z2 will be our first game studio in the United States.”

Future growth

King added that total consideration for the acquisition consists of US$45m in cash, and up to US$105m of additional cash linked to future events, including revenues generated by certain games launched by Z2 over a specific period, to be paid annually over a three-year period following the acquisition date.

Z2 originally made waves when its Trade Nations game took off on the back of the iOS device popularity. Now led by Lou Fasulo, the linkup sees King enter US soil for the first time.

“King is predominantly known for its immensely popular puzzle games,” Fasulo said on GeekWire. “Z2 has had great success in casual to mid-core builder, strategy and action games – this combination extends their capabilities to new game genres.”

Big year for King

Meanwhile, feelings are high at King following the successful 2014 financial results, with CEO Riccardo Zacconi fairly delighted with the Candy Crush-driven success of the company.

King recorded 1.5bn average game plays during the last quarter of 2014, finishing the full-year with profits of US$575m, and cash equivalents of US$964m.

“Our full-year and fourth-quarter 2014 results demonstrate the strength of our franchises, the extraordinary power of our massive player network and our ability to repeatedly launch new top-grossing games,” said Zacconi. 

“This is evident in the strong performance of our most recent launch, Candy Crush Soda Saga, which soared to the top of the mobile download list and became a top 10 grossing game worldwide on Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store very quickly after its launch, according to App Annie.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic