Changyou.com is an online game developer and operator based in China that says it is committed to providing high-quality entertainment and virtual communities, and investors clearly want to play along. The company raised $128 million of real money last month in an initial public offering of American depositary shares on Nasdaq.
The company’s flagship product is the online game Tian Long Ba Bu (TLBB), based on the work of a martial arts novelist. Changyou.com’s online interactive role-playing games may be played simultaneously by hundreds of thousands of people. TLBB provides a variety of missions and in-game activities for players that foster virtual social relationships. Game play is free, but players can choose from hundreds of virtual items to help them advance to higher levels of play.
Changyou.com began operations in 2003 as a business unit of Sohu.com, a leading Chinese search engine. As a selling shareholder, Sohu.com kept $72.5 million of the proceeds of the IPO and now holds about 68.5% of the outstanding equity interest in Changyou.com and controls more than 80% of the voting power.
Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill Lynch were joint bookrunners for the IPO. Citi and Susquehanna Financial were co-managers. The Bank of New York Mellon is the depositary bank.
Changyou.com has three new games in the pipeline and says it has 1.8 million active paying accounts. The company’s stock rose 25% in its first day of trading on volume of 8.7 million shares in what had been a virtually frozen IPO market.