We just got off the phone with Zynga CEO Mark Pincus and his new money-man Yuri Milner.
Yuri is CEO of Digital Sky Technologies, the Russian tech firm which just plowed $180 million into the social gaming company buying new, preferred stock along with common stock from current investors.
Here’s what we learned.
Zynga will spend much of the money continuing its growth-by-acqusition strategy.
Says Mark, “Adding to our capital base with more cash and pricing our stock definitely will enable us to continue to do acquisitions and look at a broader range of acquisitions.”
Only, instead of buying small social game shops, Mark is going after bigger fish. He tells us, “We would have liked to be in the running for Playfish [the number two Facebook gamemaker that EA acquired for $300 million plus a $100 million earnout.]”
The money will also go toward developing iPhone games.
“We want to be able to go after mobile, smart phones and international in much bigger ways,” says Mark. “It takes a big company to be able to pursue all the opportunities.” Zynga is getting to be that kind of big company, with 560 fulltime employees and 152 contractors.
Why didn’t Zynga just IPO?
Says Yuri: “Our analysis have shown that technologies companies go public too early. They grow 30x – 50x
that provides distraction from running the product and running the company for the long term.”
Yuri says DST bought common stock from early investors in employees in order to create an exit, a “quasi-IPO.”
Did Zynga’s early investors cash out?
Zynga wouldn’t say. But Yuri described Zynga as “a company with diverging interest between the founders and early investors and employees looking to pay their mortgages.”
A Zynga spokesperson, however, said, “Zynga has a very small base of investors who are in it for the long time.” So maybe some of them cashed out some, but not all of their stock.
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