King Digital share prices soars as Candy Crush Saga duo set to reap £41m reward in March

Oliver Smith
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King’s hits include Candy Crush, Farm Heroes and Pet Rescue

The bosses of hit smartphone game group King Digital are set to receive a £41.5m windfall next month after the studio behind Candy Crush Saga announced a special dividend along with record results last week.

For his 9.7 per cent stake co-founder and chief executive Riccardo Zacconi will pocket £19m of the £195m dividend being paid to investors on 24 March, while early investor Mel Morris will receive £22m for his 11.1 per cent holding.
King last week reported total gross bookings, an indicator of future revenue, that were up eight per cent to $586m (£380.5m) in the fourth quarter to 31 December, about $45m more than the average analyst forecast.
Meanwhile revenue and profit at the London-based company easily trumped market estimates as King’s newer games more than made up for the declining popularity of older titles.

The company announced it will pay a special dividend of $0.94 per share along with a $150m open market stock repurchase program.
“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,” Zacconi said last week.
Shares in the group soared 13.3 per cent on Friday following the results, to close up at 16.7p in New York.

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