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Zynga Shares Drop 10% After Vague CEO Talk, Departures

By | Thursday June 5, 2014 @ 1:24pm PDT

Don MattrickShares of online game company Zynga dropped almost 15 percent today before recovering modestly after its CEO was less than enthusiastic, or clear, about the company’s revenues and long-term outlook, and news surfaced of three more executive departures. The company ended the day down 33 cents, or just over 10 percent, at $2.94 a share.

The problematic comments came from Don Mattrick, who joined the company nearly a year ago after heading Microsoft’s XBox unit for six years. He told the Bank of America Merrill Lynch tech conference, ”We’re nowhere near where we should be when we ultimately have executed,” according to a transcript. He said the company is investing in growth, which is hold holding back margins, then he added that “we can do better on margins and EBITDA, no doubt about it.” Mattrick also was vague about the company’s product pipeline, touting only the company’s “great balance sheet” but saying nothing about actual coming titles coming, a bit of a surprise ahead of next week’s big E3 videogame conference, where most companies showcase their titles for the year ahead. Afterward, shares dropped as much as 14.8 percent, to as little as $2.735 at midday, before recovering about a third of the loss. Investors also may have been alarmed by news of three more executive departures, including Travis Boatman, Terence Fung, who headed acquisitions and Steve Chiang, who headed the company’s original blockbuster, the “Ville” franchise that has been … Read More »

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WME Appoints Former OMGPOP Boss Head Of Digital

By | Tuesday September 3, 2013 @ 9:16am PDT

Daniel Porter made his mark in the gaming space with OMGPOP and Zynga and now will be tasked with overseeing all of WME‘s online and mobile initiatives and help identify digital opportunities for clients. Based in the agency’s New York office as head of the Digital Department, he will work closely with Chris Jacquemin, who will continue to focus on digital content for agency clients via channel strategies and online packaging negotiations. Porter oversaw the design and release of OMGPOP’s Draw Something, now the third most downloaded game ever, and helped orchestrate OMGPOP’s sale to Zynga in 2012; most recently he was VP and General Manager of Zynga New York. His previous titles include SVP Corporate Development for Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, and he also helped develop TicketWeb, an online ticketing company eventually sold to Ticketmaster. Porter is the founder of the entrepreneurial organization Inside Startups and sits on the board of Venture for America.

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Zynga Shares Zoom After It Taps Former Microsoft Entertainment Exec To Be CEO

By | Monday July 1, 2013 @ 4:08pm PDT

Shares jumped 10.4% during the trading day following a report that Don Mattrick would take charge of the ailing game company — and another 5.9% in after-market trading when the news was officially announced. In his six years at Microsoft, Mattrick ran the interactive entertainment operation that includes the company’s Xbox gaming console. Prior to joining Microsoft he was president of Worldwide Studios at Electronic Arts and helped to develop games including “Need For Speed,” “FIFA” and ”The Sims.” Mattrick replaces founder Mark Pincus who’ll remain as Chairman and Chief Product Officer. Zynga‘s shares have lost 43.6% of their value over the last 12 months as gamers lost interest in “invest and express” category, which includes titles such as “FarmVille” and “CityVille” where players try to earn objects that they can display in the game. But the company has found it hard to change its focus away from desktop computers and toward mobile devices including smartphones and tablets. Last month the company said it would slash its workforce by 18%. In November Zynga disclosed that it would reduce its dependence on Facebook, so it could introduce games on its own site without having to accept Facebook ads, steer transactions through Facebook Payments, or require users to sign in via the social network. Mattrick calls Zynga “a great business that has yet to realize its full potential. I’m proud to partner with Mark to deliver high-quality, fun, social games wherever people want to play.”

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Zynga Shares Zinged After It Relaxes Its Relationship With Facebook

By | Thursday November 29, 2012 @ 3:30pm PST

The stock price for the maker of Farmville and CityVille is down more than 12% in after hours trading, continuing a downward trend that has slashed Zynga‘s market value more than 72% since it went public last December. The latest decline follows the disclosure in an SEC filing that it has revamped the terms of its deal with Facebook: Beginning in April Facebook “will no longer be prohibited from developing its own games” according to the new terms. But Zynga now can introduce games on its own site, and doesn’t have to accept Facebook ads, steer transactions through Facebook Payments, or require users to sign in via the social network. Zynga games must be available to Facebook “shortly following” their launch unless there’s a technical problem or if they’re introduced in China or Japan. Zynga has been slashing expenses and realigning management as founder and CEO Mark Pincus said last month that it “did not execute to our satisfaction.” The company cited weakness in its Internet “invest and express” category, where players try to earn objects that they can display in the game. The company also said that it has taken longer than it anticipated to launch new games, and its web game The Ville could fall short of earlier expectations.

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Zynga Shares Dive After Game Maker Says It Will Report Q3 Loss

By | Thursday October 4, 2012 @ 6:21pm PDT

Shares are down 19% in post market trading following the disclosure that the company behind FarmVille and other popular Facebook games will report a net loss of as much as $105M in Q3 — a period when some analysts expected it to break even. Zynga “did not execute to our satisfaction,” founder and CEO Mark Pincus says. The company cited weakness in its Internet “invest and express” category, which includes games such as FarmVille and CityVille where players try to earn objects that they can display in the game. Zynga also says it will take an impairment charge of as much as $95M connected to its $180M acquisition this year of online multiplayer game site OMGPOP. In addition, Zynga is lowering its financial forecasts because it has taken longer than it anticipated to launch new games, and its web game The Ville could fall short of earlier expectations. “We’re addressing these near-term challenges by implementing targeted cost reductions in the fourth quarter and rationalizing our product R&D pipeline to reflect our strategic priorities,” Pincus says. He’s still optimistic about new opportunities for mobile games as well as “the opportunity for social gaming and the power of our player network of 311 million monthly active users. When we offer our players highly engaging content, they respond.” Zynga has lost more than 70% of its market value since it went public at the end of 2011.

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Hasbro Licenses Rights To Zynga Games

By | Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 12:52pm PST

SAN FRANCISCO & PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) and Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA) announced today a comprehensive partnership that grants Hasbro the rights to develop a wide range of toy and gaming experiences based across Zynga’s popular social games and brands. As the world’s largest social game developer with more than 227 million monthly active users, Zynga has created some of the world’s most popular social game brands including FarmVille, CityVille and Words With Friends.

Through this agreement, Hasbro has obtained the license to develop and distribute wide ranging product lines based on Zynga’s game brands in a number of toy and game categories. This deal also creates an array of opportunities for co-branded merchandise featuring a combination of both Hasbro and Zynga brands.

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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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