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King files for $500m IPO on NYSE

Publisher dangles the Candy Crush carrot for investors

Candy Crush Saga publisher King has filed for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in a deal lead by Merill Lynch, J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse. The publisher intends to trade under the ticker "KING".

OPtions to buy will only be made available via a prospectus available from those firms, an official release has explained.

The official maximum offering, as included in the F-1 form filing, is $500m.

The news ends months of speculation on when the company would decide to capitalise on its $1.9 billion trading year, revenues which generated a net income of $568 million. Investors may still prove to be wary, however. With King's fortunes currently resting almost exclusively on the performance of Candy Crush, there's a fragility to its bottom line. With a number of high-profile bubbles having burst in the industry over the last year or two, particularly in the social and casual sectors, a little caution wouldn't be too surprising.

King has also suffered a few PR setbacks recently. In what was likely part of a process of galvanising before the announcement, King recently secured a number of trademarks relating to its games, reserving rights for both 'Candy' and Saga.

Those filings, and the resistance of the developers affected, have generated a lot of negative headlines for King in recent weeks, including an embarrassing public climb down after facing accusations of cloning. Whether that bad press filters down to the desks of investors, or indeed the minds of customers, remains to be seen.

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Dan Pearson