According to AllThingsD, Zynga, creators of CityVille and FarmVille, is planning on going public in June 2011. The company is poised to file with the SEC toward the end of this or next week.
Anyone who follows the games business may be surprised by the timing, but not by the filing.
Since launching just a few years ago, Zynga has been working towards this goal. In the past year, Zynga has acquired give or take 15 companies, hired 800 employees, and was last valued in its latest funding round at $10 billion.
The company claims 250 million users, revenues last year of $850 million, and profits of $400 million. It’s games may represent up to 20% of total Facebook usage. And, it has a deal with Lady Gaga. Surely, it is ready to IPO.
Compare these numbers to those of LinkedIn, the professional social network that successfully went public with a valuation of $9.2 billion on revenues of merely $200 million a year, and the question would be, why wouldn’t Zynga plunge into the IPO market now?
The answer is, going public forces it to open its books and its reliability on Facebook. For all its work on RewardVille, Zynga Live, and its internal marketing apparatus, Zynga today is more dependent on Facebook than ever before. One day, it will own its customers, but for now, all its customers belong to Facebook. That’s why it signed a 5 year deal to stay on Facebook and agree to give up 30% of its revenues to use Facebook Credits come June 2011. Coincidentially, around the same time it goes public. Interesting…
Regardless, one must look at Zynga’s IPO in relation to LinkedIn. If LinkedIn is worth $9 billion, then Zynga is worth $19 or $90 billion. There is insane pent-up demand for tech IPO’s, and Zynga actually has a compelling business story.
What does this mean to you the gamer? Well, unless you are friends and family with Mark Pincus, Zynga’s Founder, not much. If only you could convert all that virtual currency you have spent and earned in Zynga’s games for Zynga stock.