King Entertainment, the European mobile game maker best known for creating Candy Crush Saga, filed a public F-1 with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission for a planned initial public offering earlier this week. As a result of the filing, Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA), the maligned game maker that went public two years ago, saw its shares soar to a 52-week high.
King’s success and the excitement behind its IPO transferred to Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) whose shares are trading over $5 for the first time in months.
King the same yet different?
The two companies, however, have little to do with each other and when you look at the differences between the two companies’ IPOs you will find additional differences. The two companies were inevitably going to draw comparisons, but there is something to be said for exploring the differences in how the companies have approached going public.
Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) has never returned to the point where it went public and King will be asked how it’s different as investors eye its initial public offering. Firstly, King, unlike Zynga, has a proven track record in mobile gaming. It also has a pipeline full of titles it’s set to release and nearly a decade’s experience in game development.
King is also borrowing from Twitter’s IPO. After the debacle that accompanied Facebook’s IPO, Twitter opted to choose a different group of primary underwriters. King seems committed to doing the same.
While King has chosen three banks to lead its offering, it’s chosen to avoid Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) leads Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group. Instead, King has chosen JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse Group, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
King is also seeking considerably less money, half in fact. The company is filling to raise $500 million versus Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)’s $1 billion and are doing so with both larger revenues and profits.
King has also chosen to forgo loans it could certainly obtain ahead of its IPO. Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) decided to pay for a $1 billion line of credit, whereas King only has a $150 million asset based loan on its books.
One question mark, however, will be the degree to which insiders sell stock in the IPO. Co-founder and Chief Executive Riccardo Zacconi owns about 10% of the company’s shares. About half of King is owned by Apax Partners, a European private-equity firm. Another 8% is held by venture-capital firm Index Ventures.
In the filing, King made it quite clear that it doesn’t really need the money but is rather looking to give employees present and future a market to sell shares as well as ensuring that the company has “greater flexibility to act on strategic opportunities,” said Chief Executive and co-founder Riccardo Zacconi.
While King may go the route that Zynga did, they are certainly started in a different direction.