Zynga to buy ‘Clumsy Ninja’ developer for US$527 million, cut 314 jobs

Stephen Lawson
1 February, 2014
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Zynga plans to buy UK-based game developer NaturalMotion for about US$527 million while cutting 15 percent of its own workforce.

The San Francisco-based internet game company said it is buying NaturalMotion for hit games including CSR Racing and Clumsy Ninja. It will pay US$391 million in cash, plus about 39.8 million shares, according to a regulatory filing Thursday.

Zynga’s shares closed Thursday at US$3.56, making the shares worth about US$142 million.

Zynga will also cut 314 employees to help reduce costs and focus its work, CEO Don Mattrick wrote in a blog post. The company “wanted to create strong, dedicated teams that could succeed at the right size in relation to 2014 and beyond,” he wrote.

Zynga, founded in 2007, made its name with the casual internet games Farmville and Words With Friends and went public in 2011. But last July, Zynga said it had lost almost half its daily game players and would get “back to basics”. Mattrick replaced founder Mark Pincus as CEO, though Pincus remains chairman. A lay-off announced last June affected 520 employees.

Also on Thursday, Zynga reported revenue of US$176 million for the fourth quarter of last year, down from US$311 million in the same quarter a year earlier. That resulted in a loss of about US$25 million, or US$0.03 per share. The company narrowed its loss from nearly US$37 million a year earlier.

Privately held NaturalMotion is based in Oxford, England, and has offices in London and San Francisco.

by Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service

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