London tech stars to share £1.4bn from float

Oliver Smith
Follow Oliver
KING Digital Entertainment, the British firm behind hit mobile game Candy Crush Saga, expects to reach a $7.6bn (£4.5bn) valuation when it lists on the New York Stock Exchange this month, making its senior staff overnight multimillionaires.

The company’s 22.2m shares are set to be priced between $21 and $24, according to an updated filing submitted to the US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday.

Midlands investor Mel Morris, who provided initial funding to the game company from the £100m sale of matchmaking site uDate and currently sits as King’s chairman, is set to be worth £523m from his 12.2 per cent stake in the company.

Riccardo Zacconi, the firm’s Italian-born chief executive who moved to London in 2001, will own a paper fortune of more than £455m from his 10.4 per cent holding in King, which he co-founded in 2003.

A group of 11 of King’s directors and executives will collectively be worth more than £1.4bn from their individual share holdings in the firm.

While most of King’s shareholders are planning only modest share sales on 26 March – when King is expected to float – the firm’s largest shareholder Apax Partners will sell 3.4 per cent of its holdings in King raising up to $257m, leaving it with a 44.8 per cent stake worth as much as $3.4bn.

JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are lead underwriters for the offering.