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Candy Crush Saga creator’s stock gets crushed on first day of trading

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(Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew)

King.com might have conquered the world with its addictive app Candy Crush Saga, but when it comes to Wall Street, the company's looking more like a court jester.

Shares of the developer began trading publicly on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday morning following weeks of anticipation, but they quickly nosedived.

On Tuesday afternoon, the company announced it had priced its 22.2 million shares at $22.50 apiece, giving the company's IPO a valuation of $500 million. By midday trading on Wednesday, though, those shares had lost nearly 11 percent of their value, trading at just over $20 each.

UPDATE: King stock fell 15% by the end of trading Wednesday, making it the single worst first-day IPO loss thus far in 2014 and the worst in 15 years for a company valued at  $500 million or more.

The story is a familiar one to those who follow game companies on Wall Street. Zynga was the last hotly anticipated game company to go public, and its first day tracked a lot like King's has so far.

At one point on its first day of trading, Zynga shares fell 10 percent, eventually rebounding a bit and losing just 5 percent of their volume. Zynga did eventually see brief gains before plummeting and losing much of its value. Today, shares are still roughly half of their IPO value.

The same criticisms that hounded Zynga have also been a sticking point for King. Both Scott Sweet, senior managing partner at IPO Boutique, and Matthew Turlip, an analyst with PrivCo, have called the company a "one-trick pony." With the company providing little guidance on what it has in the pipeline, neither analyst says they have much confidence in its future.

According to King in its IPO filing, Candy Crush Saga has 97 million daily active users and 1.1 billion daily game plays. But many feel the game has already peaked and will only be losing numbers in the months and years to come. And, so far, no other King title has proven as wildly addictive with players.

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