Kabam's IPO plans unhampered by King's troubles

Kabam's IPO plans unhampered by King's troubles
James Batchelor

By James Batchelor

April 15th 2014 at 2:30PM

Free-to-play firm still mulling floatation, not worried by King slump

The value decline that followed shortly after King's floatation has not affected Kabam's own plans for an IPO.

The free-to-play firm told Develop during an interview in Berlin last week that it is still planning its own floatation, although it is waiting for the right conditions before it goes ahead.

"The board is seriously considering it. Have been for about a year," Kabam VP Steve Swasey – pictured at the opening of Kabam's new office – told Develop. "We're analysing, watching and we'll make the decision at the right time."

Swasey was unfazed by the problems of rival King, which saw its value drop by 11 per cent once trading had began. In fact, the Kabam VP pointed to other examples of strong IPOs that had a rocky start.

"You really can't judge the King IPO on its first week or two," he said. "Facebook's a good example: their IPO was not successful, it was widely reported that it was a failure and yet it bounced back. It's like baseball: you can't just a game on its first pitch.

"Obviously everyone wanted King to trade up 15 per cent rather than down. But the industry is such a huge addressable market and that's positive for companies like Kabam, Supercell, King or GungHo that have long-lived franchises and deep hooks with multiple monetisation channels."

Kabam president Andrew Sheppard added: "As a company, we try to be very mindful of what we could be doing – the Berlin office is a great example of that. We could have pursued that at an earlier time, but we chose to wait until mobile adoption in Europe was really beginning to ramp up and when our footprint in Europe – now 30 per cent of our worldwide revenues – was really beginning to grow to a scale that mattered.

"Generally speaking as a company, we don't allow external parties or forces or timing to drive the way we make decisions. The only things that really drive us is the customers we're looking for and where the market's going."

The firm first revealed it was considering an IPO back in January, when it announced revenues had doubled year-on-year to $360m.