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  • Nov. 3, 2015, 9:50 AM
    • Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) is off 2.8% in the wake of last night's surprise announcement that it was buying Candy Crush Saga regents King Digital (KING +14.1%) for $5.9B.
    • Cowen's Doug Creutz reiterated his Outperform rating on Activision, calling the deal "an absolute steal for Activision" that "immediately vaults them to being one of the top mobile gaming companies in the world." He has a $35 price target on the stock; just over 4% upside from today's trading of $33.60.
    • Meanwhile, Jim Cramer says "If [Activision chief Bobby Kotick] says this is a good deal, it's a good deal."
    • With the deal, King may have "solved" its dilemma of how to keep converting players into payers, as the company never quite got beyond the dependence on a single franchise (however lucrative).
    • King's mobile and social game rivals are trading up on the acquisition news as well; Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU) is up 5.2% in early going, while Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) is up 2.5%. Majesco Entertainment (NASDAQ:COOL) is up 6.3%.
    | Nov. 3, 2015, 9:50 AM | 18 Comments
  • Jun. 15, 2015, 5:46 PM
    • Zynga (ZNGA -1.6%) has filed a Reg FD disclosure that today it's entered an acqui-hire deal by buying substantially all the assets and liabilities of two of CEO Mark Pincus' companies.
    • Pincus had invested about $2.2M into SF Incubator and super.io Inc, and is selling them to Zynga for $1 plus the assumption of about $365K in liabilities.
    • The key though may be the opportunity to acquire the up to nine employees and related IP that would come with the deal.
    • Zynga's board formed an independent committee to vet the deal before the board (minus Pincus) unanimously approved.
    | Jun. 15, 2015, 5:46 PM | 4 Comments
  • Jan. 30, 2014, 4:14 PM
    • Zynga (ZNGA) has released its Q4 report a week ahead of schedule. The company had Q4 bookings of $146.7M (-44% Y/Y), and EPS of -$0.03. That beats a consensus of $141.1M and -$0.03.
    • Zynga also announces it's buying leading mobile game developer NaturalMotion (responsible for hit titles such as CSR Racing and Clumsy Ninja) for $527M - $391M in cash and 39.8M shares.
    • Also: Zynga is cutting another 314 jobs (15% of its workforce). It expects to record pre-tax charges of $15M-$17M, and achieve $33M-$35M in annual cost savings.
    • Zynga expects Q1 bookings of $138M-$148M and EPS of -$0.01 vs. a consensus of $145.6M and -$0.02. It expects 2014 bookings (boosted by NautralMotion) of $760M-$810M and EPS of $0.01-$0.03 vs. a consensus of $629.1M and -$0.04.
    • Shares remain halted.
    | Jan. 30, 2014, 4:14 PM | 16 Comments
  • Jan. 8, 2014, 7:03 PM
    • Though it fell just short of its all-time high of $58.58, Facebook (FB +0.5%) delivered a record close today with the help of a bullish note from Deutsche's Ross Sandler.
    • Sandler, who sang Google's praises yesterday, says he wouldn't be surprised if Facebook's ad revenue growth (+66% Y/Y in Q3) re-accelerated in Q4 thanks to improving monetization and still-rising engagement.
    • Android app monitoring tool developer Little Eye Labs has confirmed its expected acquisition by Facebook. A source tells TechCrunch the startup, which bolsters Facebook's efforts to become the top platform for consumer mobile/Web app development, was acquired for $10M-$15M.
    • During a recent interview, Facebook (FB) game partnership director Sean Ryan asserts Facebook is still seeing growing PC gaming activity, in spite of the mobile shift. That's a positive for Zynga (ZNGA), provided the company can stabilize its share. Ryan also claims the development of cross-platform games (e.g. Zynga Poker, Candy Crush Saga) yields higher engagement on both mobile and PCs.
    • PC gaming still remains easier for Facebook to monetize, since the company (rather than Apple or Google) gets a 30% cut on in-app purchases. On mobile, Facebook is focused on monetizing gaming via its app install ads.
    | Jan. 8, 2014, 7:03 PM | 16 Comments
  • Jul. 8, 2013, 9:51 AM

    New Zynga (ZNGA -1.2%) CEO Don Mattrick tried to buy the company for Microsoft back in 2010, Bloomberg reports. The goal of such an acquisition, which (given Zynga's current valuation) might have yielded another huge write-down for Microsoft, would have been to provide social games for Xbox Live. Quartz observes Mattrick is due to make $95M-$105M over the next 5 years in cash and equity, and (like other Zynga execs) would be immediately entitled to 25%-50% of outstanding equity awards in the event of a sale.

    | Jul. 8, 2013, 9:51 AM | 2 Comments
  • Jun. 19, 2013, 4:56 PM
    Zynga (ZNGA) strengthens its real-money and "social" gambling push by acquiring Spooky Cool Labs, a 40-person startup containing a number of online gambling industry vets. In spite of its pedigree, Spooky recently shifted its attention to developing Facebook and iOS games based on The Wizard of Oz. Its Chicago team will collaborate with Zynga's San Francisco social gaming team, which is responsible for Zynga Poker. (earlier) (Zynga layoffs)
    | Jun. 19, 2013, 4:56 PM | 1 Comment
  • Mar. 11, 2013, 12:08 PM
    Yahoo M&A speculation has Zynga (ZNGA +7.7%) shorts fleeing for the exits. Wunderlich's Blake Harper sees Zynga as a possible buyout target for Yahoo (YHOO), whose M&A chief recently said the company is working on two "significant" acquisitions (without elaborating), as the Internet giant tries to strengthen its mobile/social positioning. 16.4% of Zynga's float was shorted as of Feb. 15.
    | Mar. 11, 2013, 12:08 PM | 17 Comments
  • Nov. 9, 2012, 6:37 PM
    Zynga (ZNGA) has bought November Software, a startup working on a mobile game called Battlestone. Like its September acquisition of A Bit Lucky, the November deal is part of Zynga's push to offer more "mid-core" games - titles more complex and intense than FarmVille, but not as much as World of Warcraft. It also ties into Zynga's efforts to boost its mobile exposure as PC Facebook usage declines, and gives it some engineering talent at a time when many employees are fleeing for the exits.
    | Nov. 9, 2012, 6:37 PM | 1 Comment
  • Oct. 12, 2012, 11:20 AM

    Is Mark Pincus thinking of taking Zynga (ZNGA +1.9%) private? The controversial CEO re-tweeted a comment linking to an analysis arguing Zynga should consider such a move. Pincus controls 50.15% of Zynga's voting rights, and is well-positioned to make a going-private offer if he wishes. Also, Zynga now has a market cap of just $1.88B in spite of closing Q2 with $1.6B in cash and investments, though the latter figure might decline some in the coming quarters.

    | Oct. 12, 2012, 11:20 AM | 3 Comments
  • Sep. 25, 2012, 2:15 PM

    Groupon (GRPN -7.4%) paid $15M-$20M to acquire restaurant reservations/discounts platform Savored, Fortune reports. Shares have tumbled below $5 today in the absence of major news, as recent consumer Internet IPOs remain under pressure. Zynga (ZNGA -4.4%) is also selling off.

    | Sep. 25, 2012, 2:15 PM
  • Sep. 17, 2012, 4:01 PM
    Zynga (ZNGA) has reportedly bought a game developer that calls itself A Bit Lucky. The startup is behind two Facebook games, Lucky Space and Lucky Train, neither of which has a huge following according to AppData's figures (I, II). Zynga, desperate to find another hit as activity for older titles declines, might view the purchase as a way to pick up engineering talent and R&D work on the cheap. A Zynga exec claims A Bit Lucky will help it appeal more to "hardcore" gamers.
    | Sep. 17, 2012, 4:01 PM
  • Aug. 23, 2012, 11:23 AM
    Zynga's (ZNGA +1.2%) defections continue. The latest involves CityVille general manager Alan Patmore, who has left for "hardcore" gaming startup Kixeye. Zynga recently issued equity grants in the hopes of keeping dispirited employees from leaving. Bloomberg noted yesterday management refuses to consider a sale, a stance that leads some to think an activist push is possible, given Zynga now trades near cash levels. (COO resignation)
    | Aug. 23, 2012, 11:23 AM | 4 Comments
  • Jun. 26, 2012, 4:12 PM

    Glu Mobile (GLUU +5.2%) closed with a healthy gain thanks to a new round of M&A chatter. The latest rumors appear to involve Microsoft (MSFT). Zynga (ZNGA) has been named as a prospective suitor for the mobile game developer in prior speculation.

    | Jun. 26, 2012, 4:12 PM
  • Jun. 4, 2012, 4:36 PM
    Zynga (ZNGA) has made another "acqui-hire," snapping up multi-platform game developer Buzz Monkey for its 50 employees. Buzz Monkey has partnered with Zynga in the past on games such as FrontierVille.
    | Jun. 4, 2012, 4:36 PM
  • May 14, 2012, 9:28 AM

    Zynga (ZNGA) continues its mobile gaming M&A spree (I, II) by acquiring Wild Needle, a developer of casual titles aimed at female game-players, for an undisclosed sum. The deal appears to be an "acqui-hire" (i.e. Zynga is more interested in Wild Needle's engineering talent than its games).

    | May 14, 2012, 9:28 AM | 2 Comments
  • Apr. 26, 2012, 2:04 PM
    Wedbush's Michael Pachter isn't buying rumors Asian online gaming giant Nexon will buy Electronic Arts (EA +6.9%). With a current market cap of $5.3B, EA would be very tough for Nexon ($8B market cap) to swallow. In addition, employee defections would be huge, Nexon's CEO (owns over 50% of shares) doesn't want to relinquish control, and Nexon has no experience in many of EA's core markets. Also rallying on the rumor: ATVI +2.5%. ZNGA +3.6%. GLUU +3.7%.
    | Apr. 26, 2012, 2:04 PM | 3 Comments