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Could Zynga Be an Acquisition Target?

By Brian Withers and Toby Bordelon - Updated Jun 22, 2021 at 4:26PM

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With its recent success, this gaming company is more valuable than ever.

Zynga (ZNGA) has come a long way since Farmville was its only hit mobile game. This mobile video gaming specialist expects to hit $2.7 billion in full-year revenue on the back of new releases such as Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells and Star Wars: Hunters and tremendous growth from its advertising business. This success may make investors wonder if it could become a takeout target. On a Fool Live episode recorded on May 12, Fool contributors Toby Bordelon and Brian Withers cover the company's recent stellar results and discuss whether Zynga might be acquired.

Toby Bordelon: Let's look at Zynga. Zynga that some of you may know makers of Farmville, that great Facebook-based game that everyone was so crazy about a couple of years back. That's what they are basically, they're more of a social media platform-based mobile gaming company. Highest quarterly revenue and bookings ever for Q1. Fantastic.

Record daily active users up 85% to 38 million. Monthly active users up almost 140%, 164 million. Looking good, right? Revenue up 68%. But really interesting, advertising revenue doubled, up 100%. If you were looking at this quarter from them, you could very easily come away with the idea that they are really pushing more into the ad revenue. I think that's a valid assumption, especially given they announced the acquisition of Chartboost, which is a mobile advertising platform. They're looking to plug that in a new more in the advertising space and mobile advertising space, that [acquisition] should close I think they said Q3, maybe early Q4 this year so look for that. But definitely what you get from them is, performing really well and moving more into advertising for the revenue.

Brian Withers: I'm wondering Toby, being focused on just mobile gaming, is Zynga a takeout candidate, do you think they'll still be public five years from now?

Bordelon: That's a great question and you wonder about that, especially with King Digital has been taken into Activision a couple of years back. You can see that happening. My best guess is, I think there still independent. I think the Chartboost acquisition kind of supports that, they seem to be trying to explore more revenue streams and consolidate themselves, rather than looking for someone to buy them.

But let's assume they were taken out like let's assume by 2026 they were part of someone else. My best guess, if I had to guess making wild guesses here, that the two that will probably be more likely to do it would be either Microsoft or Take-Two Interactive. I don't think Activision would do it because they've already got King, they don't need another one that's similar. They seem a natural, you might think they're not fit with Facebook, but I think Facebook it's going to have some regulatory scrutiny and antitrust scrutiny. They're not going to get it done even if they wanted to.

But Microsoft is really pushing hard in mobile gaming through their xCloud platform they're pushing out. It could make sense for them. It also could finalize needs for Take-Two if they don't really have. They've got some mobile stuff going on, but not anything nearly as big as what Zynga has got going on, so it could make sense for them although that would be a big deal. That will be a huge acquisition for Take-Two.

Withers: Zynga is about $11 billion [market cap] today. So assuming there's a premium on top of that.

Bordelon: Zynga is 11, I think Take-Two's around 20, so it would be a pretty big swallow for them. But those are my best two guesses.

Withers: Who knows.

Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Brian Withers has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Toby Bordelon owns shares of Activision Blizzard and Microsoft and has the following options: short June 2021 $180 puts on Take-Two Interactive. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Activision Blizzard, Facebook, Microsoft, Take-Two Interactive, and Zynga. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2023 $115 calls on Take-Two Interactive. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Zynga Inc. Stock Quote
Zynga Inc.
Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
$174.66 (-0.11%) $0.19
Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
$290.17 (-0.40%) $-1.15
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Stock Quote
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
$130.47 (-1.90%) $-2.53
Activision Blizzard, Inc. Stock Quote
Activision Blizzard, Inc.
$80.44 (-0.11%) $0.09

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