Grand Theft Auto company Take-Two is acquiring FarmVille company Zynga for $12.7 billion, the company announced on Monday morning. This is a combined cash and stock deal. Importantly, the deal has not closed, and there is a “go-shop” provision whereby Zynga has 45 days to look for a better deal with a different company. Many may recall how Take-Two was originally lined up to acquire Codemasters before EA came in and bought the company instead.
In a news release, Take-Two said this is a “transformative combination” of companies that makes Take-Two “one of the largest and most diversified mobile game publishers in the industry.”
“We are thrilled to announce our transformative transaction with Zynga, which significantly diversifies our business and establishes our leadership position in mobile, the fastest growing segment of the interactive entertainment industry,” Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said. “This strategic combination brings together our best-in-class console and PC franchises, with a market-leading, diversified mobile publishing platform that has a rich history of innovation and creativity. Zynga also has a highly talented and deeply experienced team, and we look forward to welcoming them into the Take-Two family in the coming months. As we combine our complementary businesses and operate at a much larger scale, we believe that we will deliver significant value to both sets of stockholders, including $100 million of annual cost synergies within the first two years post-closing and at least $500 million of annual Net Bookings opportunities over time.”
Take-Two clearly sees a lot of upside here, as the $9.861 per share that it paid for Zynga represents a 64% premium on Zynga’s closing share price on January 7.
Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau, a former executive at Electronic Arts, said joining forces with Take-Two allows the company to “further advance our mission to connect the world through games while achieving significant growth and synergies together.”
“We are incredibly excited to have found a partner in Take-Two that shares our commitment to investing in our players, amplifying our creative culture, and generating more value for stockholders. With this transformative transaction, we begin a new journey which will allow us to create even better games, reach larger audiences and achieve significant growth as a leader in the next era of gaming.”
In a slide deck, Take-Two said it sees a “clear path” for bringing Take-Two’s console and PC games to mobile, thanks in part to the Zynga deal. It did not, however, name any specific titles.
There might also be more live operations and crossover events between IP, Take-Two said, while it will use Zynga’s services to help acquire more users. Take-Two also sees the acquisition as helping Take-Two expand into new geographies and “further focus on innovation and emerging business models.” There are also opportunities for cross-play integration, Take-Two said.
Take-Two also disclosed that more than half of Take-Two’s business earnings in the future will come from mobile, which shows just how important it is to the company. Mobile is the fastest growing segment of the video game industry.