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Activision Blizzard to Acquire King Digital Entertainment for $5.9 Billion

The world’s biggest video-game company and mobile game publisher are coming together.

Activision Blizzard will acquire King Digital Entertainment for $5.9 billion, or all shares for $18 per share in a mix of cash and debt financing. The deal extends the purview of a company primarily associated with creating games like “Call of Duty” for consoles like Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation into a smartphone market that is growing at a much faster rate by all estimates. King is the company behind the hugely popular “Candy Crush” franchise.

“The combined revenues and profits solidify our position as the largest, most profitable standalone company in interactive entertainment,” said Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in a statement. “With a combined global network of more than half a billion monthly active users, our potential to reach audiences around the world on the device of their choosing enables us to deliver great games to even bigger audiences than ever before.”

“We will combine our expertise in mobile and free-to-play with Activision Blizzard’s world-class brands and proven track record of building and sustaining the most successful franchises, to bring the best games in the world to millions of players worldwide,” said King CEO Riccardo Zacconi in a statement.

The purchase, which is subject to approval by the Irish High Court, is projected to be completed by the spring of 2016. King, based in Dublin, Ireland, has about 1,600 employees worldwide. Upon close of the deal, Activision plans to operate King as an independent operating unit led by Zacconi.

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