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Candy Crush Maker King Digital Makes IPO Debut

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- King Digital Entertainment (KING), maker of the popular Candy Crush Saga game, made its debut as a public company on Wednesday.

Trading on the New York Stock Exchange, King Digital's shares opened at $20.50 shortly before 10 a.m. EDT. The Dublin-based firm priced its shares at $22.50 each after market close on Tuesday in a $499.5 million IPO that valued the company at $7.1 billion. The price was at the midpoint of King Digital's expectations.

King Digital shares were trading at $20.65 at 10:11 a.m EDT.

Launched on Facebook (FB) in April 2012, Candy Crush Saga became a mobile phenomenon when it launched for devices such as Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and Google (GOOG) Android smartphones six months later. King Digital announced an expansion of the game in November 2013.

King Digital had a network of 324 million monthly unique users in December 2013, according to an F-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last month. During the same month, an average of 128 million daily active users played the company's games more than 1.2 billion times per day.

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The company registered a loss of $1 million in the first quarter of 2012, according to its F-1 filing, which grew to a profit of $159 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Candy Crush Saga tops the monthly active user leaderboard for Facebook apps, according to app analytics specialist AppData. The company's Farm Heroes Saga and Pet Rescue Saga hold second and third place, respectively, with Google's YouTube in fourth position. King Digital is the top Facebook app developer by monthly average user, ahead of Zynga (ZNGA), Microsoft (MSFT), and YouTube, AppData said.

 --Written by James Rogers in New York.

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