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Activision Buys King Digital; Releases Q3 Financials

Activision Blizzard announces the acquisition of King Digital Entertainment, with the deal's 5.9 billion price tag reflecting how much the Candy Crush developer has been crushing it. The good news for them is that this brings Activision Blizzard's monthly total user count to more than a half-billion, and the deal is expected to boost Activision's adjusted revenue and earnings by about 30%. The potential bad news is that about a third of the company's revenue is from Candy Crush Saga, which is by far the most successful of the more than 200 games they've created since 2003. "The combined revenues and profits solidify our position as the largest, most profitable standalone company in interactive entertainment," states Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. "With a combined global network of more than half a billion monthly active users, our potential to reach audiences around the world on the device of their choosing enables us to deliver great games to even bigger audiences than ever before." Activision Blizzard also announces "better-than-expected" third quarter 2015 financial results showing that World of Warcraft subscriptions, which they call "relatively stable" ended the quarter at 5.5 million, and in spite of the dropoff, note WoW "remains the No. 1 subscription-based MMORPG in the world." Here's more:

Selected Business Highlights:

  • Activision Publishing had its highest ever third quarter non-GAAP operating income, driven by strong engagement and digital revenue, with Q3 monthly active users (MAUs)B up 17% year-over-year, and the largest Q3 and year-to-date digital revenues in its history. Activision Publishing continues to have 3 of the top 5 games on next-generation consoles life-to-date.2
  • Activision Publishing's Call of Duty® franchise year-to-date non-GAAP revenues increased by a double-digit percentage year-over-year due to strong catalog sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, both for full game and Supply Drops. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare remains the No. 1 game on next-generation consoles life-to-date, as it has been since its launch a year ago.2
  • On September 15, 2015, Activision Publishing and Bungie released The Taken King, the largest update to the Destiny universe yet, which was enthusiastically received by fans and critics alike. Day-one downloads broke PlayStation records, day-one engagement saw the highest number of active players in Destiny's history, daily player engagement is now well above 3 hours per day and the Destiny community has climbed to over 25 million registered players. Since its launch, Destiny has become the most watched console game on Twitch.
  • On September 20, 2015, Activision Publishing released Skylanders® SuperChargers, the next installment in the franchise with all new vehicles, action figures and exclusive Nintendo characters. Even with increased competition, SuperChargers is one of Skylanders' highest-rated entries to date and has strong engagement, with more toys per player than last year.
  • Blizzard Entertainment's third quarter MAUsB were up 50% year-over-year, reflecting strong engagement with the online player community.
  • World of Warcraft® subscriptions remained relatively stable, ending the quarter at 5.5 million subscribersC. Players are excited about the upcoming expansion, Legion™, which will feature a new class, customizable Artifact weapons, class order halls, and much more. World of Warcraft remains the No. 1 subscription‐based MMORPG in the world.
  • On August 24, 2015, Blizzard Entertainment launched The Grand Tournament™, the second expansion for Hearthstone®: Heroes of Warcraft™, with over 130 new cards. As a result of this new content, continued strength on mobile, and continued strength across geographies, key engagement metrics grew 77% year-over-year and set a new quarterly revenue record for the franchise.
  • Blizzard Entertainment brought new players into Heroes of the Storm™ with the release of The Eternal Conflict, a series of content and hero additions based on the Diablo® universe. Blizzard also held the Heroes of the Storm regional championships as part of its Road to BlizzCon® esports series, including the Americas Championship in Las Vegas and the Europe Championship in Prague.
  • Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo III continued to bring in new players in Q3, and in China, the game passed the 2-million-unit milestone.
  • Blizzard Entertainment began closed beta testing for Overwatch™ on October 27, 2015, with over 7 million players signed-up to participate, not including China.

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