King Digital Entertainment Plc (NYSE:KING) shares were down 16% on their debut on Wednesday. The decline in shares reflects the investors concerns over the dependence of the game maker on its popular title Candy Crush Saga.
Investors and experts have been waiting eagerly for the largest IPO from a game company since Zynga became public in 2011. In afternoon trade, King shares fell to as low as $18.90 from the IPO price of $22.50, valuing the company around $6 billion.
Other games gaining momentum
The IPO from King Digital Entertainment Plc (NYSE:KING) is the biggest U.S. tech IPO since Twitter made a debut, in November. The IPO is also the second worst performer after Chegg Inc, textbook rental and academic service company, which witnessed a fall of 23%.
Though King offers more than 180 games, its two year old title Candy Crush Saga is the single most popular game contributing three-quarters of King’s revenue for the last three months of 2013. There are some indications that new titles from Kink are gaining popularity. Analysts believe that “Farm Heroes Saga” has seen acceleration since its January mobile launch.
Candy Crush Saga, which is a free game, has been downloaded over 500 million times since the launch on mobile devices. King adopts a “freemium” model, and earns revenue by selling extra lives and other add-ons.
Other gaming stocks also down
Analyst at research firm Endpoint Technologies Associates, Roger Kay, said “Once you have a hit, it’s hard to make a string of hits. How many bands were the Beatles?” and added “Also, there’ve been a lot of high priced IPOs and mergers and acquisitions (of late) and when valuations get frothy, investors get disappointed when returns don’t measure up to expectations.”
The dismal show of King’s on its debut pulled other gaming stocks also, on Wednesday. Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) was down 4% while smaller player Glu Mobile fell 4.5%. Zynga, which came out with IPO in 2011, was down 5% on its debut. Zynga, which made the debut with the same valuation as that of King, has witnessed a sharp decline in market value since then to over $4 billion.
King Digital Entertainment Plc (NYSE:KING), which raised around $500 million from the IPO, offered 22.2 million shares of which 15.5 million were subscribed. On Wednesday, the shares were down 16% at $19.00.