A quintet of US and EU firms have advised on the billion-dollar acquisition of King Digital Entertainment by rival mobile gaming company Activision Blizzard.
Under the terms of the transaction, ABS Partners, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, will acquire all out the outstanding shares of King, the creator of Candy Crush Saga in a deal worth $5.9bn (£3.8bn).
Debevoise & Plimpton represented Activision Blizzard. The firm’s team was led by corporate chair Jeffrey Rosen and co-head of M&A William Regner in New York. They were assisted by finance chair David Brittenham and executive compensation and employee benefits chair Lawrence Cagney, as well as corporate partners Paul Rodel and Jeffrey Ross and tax partner Gary Friedman.
Meanwhile Allen & Overy’s (A&O) head of Belgian competition law Dick Arts advised Activision Blizzard on antitrust work from Brussels, with Mason Hayes & Curran providing Irish counsel. Partners Justin McKenna, Daragh Bohan, Matthew Cole and David Mangan were all involved.
The acquisition is being implemented by means of a scheme of arrangement under Irish law.
King Digital Entertainment’s corporate headquarters are in Dublin and it turned to Republic of Ireland firm William Fry for legal advice. Corporate partners David Carthy, David Fitzgibbon and Susanne McMenamin acted for the company, while partners Maura Roe and Cormac Little handled employment and competition matters respectively.
The company also sought legal advice from US firm Fenwick & West, while in-house matters were handled in London by King’s chief legal officer and corporate secretary Rob Miller. He was supported by King’s head of corporate Frankie Williams, senior corporate counsel Paul Bitten and corporate counsel Luci Ingram.
The deal is expected to create an entertainment network with over half a billion monthly active users across the world. The acquisition is due to be completed by spring 2016.
Background to the deal
Having won King Digital as a new client following a competitive tender process in 2013, William Fry has since represented the company on its reorganisation and domicilation to Ireland.
It also joined DLA Piper and Fenwick & West in advising King Digital on its debut on the New York Stock Exchange last year, in what was Ireland’s biggest-ever tech IPO at the time with a $7.2bn admission to trading. King head of corporate Frankie Williams was named in The Lawyer Hot 100 2015 for the listing.
King’s acquirer Activision Blizzard was meanwhile created in 2007 following the merger of Gibson Dunn client Vivendi Games and Activision, represented by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Activision Blizzard’s legal department is currently headed up by ex-Procter & Gamble European general counsel Christopher Walther, who joined the company back in 2009.