GamesBeat

Zynga reports a profit for third quarter on eve of IPO

Zynga reported net income of $12.5 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, down 54 percent from $27 million a year ago, according to an updated S1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The performance isn’t stellar, but it’s not so bad as to suggest Zynga’s planned initial public offering is in trouble.

Revenue was $307 million in the quarter, up 80 percent from $170.6 million a year ago. In other words, Zynga is working harder for the profits it gets by generating a lot more revenue compared to the past.

In the second quarter, Zynga reported only $1.4 million in profits on $280 million in revenue, so the third quarter report is an improvement on a quarter-to-quarter basis.

The company updated its stats, noting it has 230 million monthly active users, down from 232 million when it first file for an IPO in June. It has 58 million daily active users in 175 countries. Those users play 2 billion minutes a day and engage in 4 billion in-game user-to-user connections a day.

Zynga said that, according to AppData, its games are played by more daily active players than the next 14 social game developers combined. Zynga said it has four of the top five social games on Facebook, based on daily active users.

Cumulative revenue to date is $1.5 billion since 2007. Zynga now has 2,789 employees, compared to 2,543 at the end of June.

Zynga said that data mined from its users provides it with more than 15 terabytes of data per day. The company analyzes that data to customize its games to fit user preferences. As of Sept. 30, Zynga had $926 million in cash. Zynga also has a $1 billion line of credit and hasn’t used any of that yet.

According to AppData, Zynga has 36.9 percent of the market for daily active users for social games on Facebook. Electronic Arts has been gaining with the launch of The Sims Social this summer, but the rate of gain has slowed and EA has 10.9 percent market share.

In the third quarter, Zynga’s average number of daily active users was 54 million, compared to 59 million on June 30 and 49 million a year ago. The average monthly active user number was 227 million, compared to 228 million on June 30 and 203 million a year ago.

The average bookings per user — or bookings for a period divided by the number of daily active users — was .058 cents on Sept. 30, compared to .051 cents on June 30 and .049 cents a year ago. Over time, that means Zynga is making more money per user.

Zynga provided a breakdown of the percentage of revenue generated by major titles. FarmVille was responsible for 27 percent, FrontierVille for 16 percent, Zynga Poker 15 percent, Mafia Wars 14 percent and CityVille 11 percent. That means that none of the games launched this year generates more than 10 percent of Zynga’s revenue.

Zynga apperas to be investing heavily in new games, research and development spending totaling $282 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, up 188 percent from $98 million a year earlier. Sales, marketing, cost of revenue, and general and administrative costs are all up substantially as well.

Zynga said ad revenue was down $12.9 million in the quarter as the company reduced the number of in-game offers to improve player experience.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Zynga issued 34.9 million shares of Series C preferred stock for $485.3 million in proceeds. But it also bought back 27.5 million private shares for $283.8 million during the same period. During each period, Zynga periodically estimates its own valuation, with help from third-party analysis firms. In May, it determined that its value was $14 billion. In August, the value was reaffirmed at $14 billion.

That is interesting since Zynga’s value back in January was $4.9 billion, and because Zynga hasn’t said precisely how many shares it will issue and at what price/valuation.

Zynga’s cloud computing infrastructure is one of the biggest in the world. The company is able to add up to 1,000 servers in a day to handle changes in demand for games, and Zynga delivers more than a petabyte of data per day in new content.


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