Take-Two and Zynga Team Up in Biggest Deal in Gaming History

Take-Two and Zynga have merged into what is currently the largest corporate deal in gaming history. Shareholders in each company approved all the proposals last Thursday, and Zynga’s shares ceased trading after the market closed on Friday. Yesterday, Zynga shareholders received $3.50 and 0.0406 Take-Two shares for every Zynga share, adding up to a whopping $12.7 billion, and the deal is complete.

The money involved is eye-watering, although the brands involved are too. Take-Two’s most famous asset is the Grand Theft Auto franchise, but it also owns NBA2K, WWE games, BioShock, Borderlands and Civilisation. Zynga is probably still best known for Farmville and Words with Friends, but it has a huge list of successful mobile titles, including Golf Rival, the CSR Racing series, and a host of casino-style games.

At first glance, this is a merger that makes a lot of sense: Take-Two is great at the ‘big’ stuff and Zynga is rocking the growing mobile space. Take-Two chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick is of course convinced the deal has passed.

(Image credit: 2K)

“We are excited to complete our combination with Zynga, which is a key step towards exponentially increasing our net bookings from mobile devices, the fastest growing interactive entertainment segment, while providing us with substantial cost synergies and revenue opportunities. “, he said Zelnick in the company announcement. “As we bring together our exceptional talent, exciting pipelines of games and industry-leading technologies and resources, we believe we can take our portfolio to another level of creativity, innovation and quality.”

There are some mentions of ‘strong shareholder value’ that I’ll spare you, though Zelnick also talks about the deal in terms of the new company ‘becoming a leader in mobile gaming’. Grand Theft Auto for mobile? It looks like a license to print money. Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau is similarly excited.

“We’re excited for Zynga’s next-generation mobile platform, free-to-play experience, diverse game offering, and incredible team to join the Take-Two family,” said Gibeau. “We look forward to continuing to build an unrivaled portfolio of games that will reach broader markets and lead to continued growth for this next chapter in Zynga’s story.”

$12.7 billion is an unimaginable amount of money, though it likely won’t remain the biggest acquisition in gaming for long: Microsoft’s planned $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard continues, and the latest development has been the Activision Blizzard shareholders voting to approve the deal. That deal still faces some regulatory leaps, but it is widely expected to be completed.

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