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Game-Maker Zynga Unveils IPO Plans As Investors Grow Wary Of Tech

The maker of popular Facebook games including FarmVille and Mafia Wars says this morning in an SEC filing that it hopes to end up with nearly $890M from a public offering of 100M shares at an expected price of about $9.25 a share. The stock will trade at NASDAQ under the symbol ZNGA. The cash will be used for “general corporate purposes” which could include acquisitions. The company says it also plans to contribute a some of the net proceeds to charitable causes through its philanthropic initiative, Zynga.org. Today’s announcement follows its disclosure this past summer that it planned to go public — seizing on Wall Street’s infatuation with tech companies. Investors have become a little more skeptical about the category, though: For example, Pandora Media is down about 40% since it went public in June. LinkedIn is down 28% since May. And Groupon lost 27% of its market value after it hit the market early last month. Zynga investors also will have no power over the company. Read More »

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UPDATE: ‘Puss In Boots’ Will Top $33.6M This Weekend, Jeff Katzenberg Predicts

UPDATE, 2:25 PM: DreamWorks Animation shares jumped all over the place in after-hours trading when the company reported its earnings — but settled at -2% as CEO Jeff Katzenberg discussed his expectations and plans. He talked up Puss In Boots, predicting that it will set a record this weekend by generating more than $33.6M at box offices — that’s the previous high for a pre-Halloween release. “Anything beyond that goes into the ‘win’ column,” he says. Much of the revenue will come from sales of high-priced tickets for the 3D version. “Almost every review (of the movie) singled out the quality of the 3D experience,” Katzenberg says. “It’s meaningful.” He provided few details about his recent agreement to offer his films to Netflix instead of HBO in the premium TV window but calls the new arrangement “historic” for DreamWorks as well as “the industry as a whole.” Katzenberg was equally vague about the company’s thoughts about negotiating a new distribution deal to replace the one with Paramount that expires at the end of next year. “We will be considering all our distribution options starting in spring of 2012,” he says adding that he expects to have something in place next summer. Katzenberg says that DreamWorks has paid about $700M in distribution fees for 11 movies that generated $5.5B at worldwide box offices, and $10B from sales in all venues.

Asked about the changes in his employment contract, Lew Coleman … Read More »

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Jeffrey Katzenberg Blames Hollywood “Greed” For 3D Woes

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is the leading cheerleader for 3D — and lobbied theaters hard to raise ticket prices for 3D films. So it’s funny to hear him say that “the bloom is off the rose” for the technology for a while “driven by a singular and unique characteristic that only exists in Hollywood, greed.” But he isn’t talking about ticket prices: He told Fortune magazine’s Brainstorm Tech Conference yesterday in Aspen that too many filmmakers “thought they could just deliver a kind of low-end crappy version of it, and people wouldn’t care, or wouldn’t know the difference. And nothing could have been further from the truth.”  He says that over last seven or eight months Hollywood has put out “the worst lineup of movies you’ve experienced in the last five years of your life.” But he says that interest in 3D will grow as top directors use the technology. “It will take us a while, but we’ll earn (public interest) back,” he says.

BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield says the comments “made us even more concerned about the health of the movie industry” — including DreamWorks Animation. Here’s the video of Katzenberg’s interview:

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EXCLUSIVE DEADLINE LIST: Media Moguls With Pay Compensation NOT Out-Of-Whack

EXCLUSIVE: Media Moguls With Out-Of-Whack Pay Compensation

My previous post showed that a lot of media company bigwigs have pay that’s out of whack with the other 4 top executives whom the SEC requires these corps to list. Now I want to show the flip side — CEOs that don’t set off alarm bells with corporate governance experts. Top dogs like News Corp’s Chase Carey, Comcast/NBCUniversal’s Steve Burke, Cinemark’s Alan Stock, World Wrestling Entertainment’s Kevin Dunn, Dreamworks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg, Dish Network’s Charlie Ergen, Netflix’ Reed Hastings, AMC Entertainment’s Gerardo Lopez, Regal Entertainment Group’s, and National Cinemedia’s Kurt Hall make no more than 3 times as much as the average for the 4 other top executives whose compensation is listed in the annual proxy statement to shareholders.  Let’s be clear: We aren’t saying that the executives below are fairly or unfairly paid. But they work at companies where the boards of directors at least seem to recognize that multiple people deserve the credit for the company’s performance:

1. Microsoft: B. Kevin Turner. Here’s an indication of how technology companies differ from most media ones: Executives in tech don’t depend so much on annual compensation. They typically own a lot of stock and profit when it appreciates. So CEO Steve Ballmer, who owns nearly 4.8% of Microsoft’s shares, is the lowest paid top executive listed in Microsoft’s proxy, with $1.4 million in compensation for the fiscal year that ended in June.  Turner, the COO, … Read More »

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