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Activision buys ‘Candy Crush’ maker for $5.9bn in bid to reach mobile audience

Activision Blizzard has announced its intention to acquire Candy Crush Saga creator King Digital Entertainment in a deal valued at a hefty $5.9 billion.

For Activision, the purchase represents a major step toward the world of mobile gaming, adding to its already strong presence on console and PC platforms thanks to the huge popularity of its Call of Duty and World of Warcraft franchises, among others.

King was targeted by the company for its vast network of gamers across mobile, social, and Web platforms, with its most recent data claiming 474 million monthly active users globally.

One-hit wonder?

The deal comes despite King’s difficulty in creating a follow-up game as successful as Candy Crush, which it released across several platforms in 2012. The game remains one of the top grossing apps on both iOS and Android devices, but its struggle to replicate Crush‘s success has taken its toll on the company’s profits.

Having carefully considered all the stats, Activision nevertheless sees huge potential in King’s massive global community of mobile gamers.

Commenting on the deal, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said, “Mobile gaming is the largest and fastest-growing opportunity for interactive entertainment and we will have one of the world’s most successful mobile game companies and its talented teams providing great content to new customers, in new geographies throughout the world.”

Related: Facebook’s Zuckerberg pledges to halt Candy Crush spam

King CEO Riccardo Zacconi said he was “excited” about the deal and that together the two companies “will have an amazing footprint, innovative technology, and leadership across platforms….to delight one of the largest networks of players in the world.”

King, which was founded in Sweden in 2003 before relocating to Dublin, currently has more than 1,600 employees at game studios and offices in around 12 countries.

The deal is expected to close by spring 2016, with Zacconi continuing to lead the company.