Apax to float Candy Crush owner

Apax portfolio company King Digital Entertainment, which owns mobile game Candy Crush Saga, is seeking $500m in an IPO.

Apax Partners-backed King Digital Entertainment has filed an initial public offering of up to $500 million, according to documents filed with US Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday.

UK-based King owns social network and mobile games such as Candy Crush Saga and Pet Rescue Saga. The games can be played on platforms including Facebook and Google Play and can be purchased in the Apple iTunes store. The games have about 128 million daily active users, 93 million of which play Candy Crush as of December 2013, according to SEC documents.

Shares of King will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, though the company hasn’t priced the offering yet. The company is aiming for a multiple of earnings close to that of other gaming companies such as Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard, which could value the company at between $8 billion and $10 billion, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.  Underwriters in the IPO include JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, according to the SEC documents.

Apax initially invested in King in 2005 in a deal led by partner Roy Mackenzie. The firm currently owns a 48.2 percent stake in King.

Apax reshuffled its leadership at the end of 2013 when former chief executive officer Martin Halusa stepped down after nearly a decade, to become chairman.  Partners Andrew Sillitoe and Mitch Truwit assumed the roles of co-CEOs on 1 January, Private Equity International reported.

Apax has raised $43.8 billion across roughly 31 funds since its founding, according to its website. The firm operates from nine global offices, including its most recent in São Paulo, which it opened last November.