Zynga reshuffles exec ranks as stock tanks, Facebook acquisition rumors spread

TAGs: double down casino, Facebook, international game technology, social gaming, Zynga

Zynga-shuffles-execsSocial games developer Zynga has, depending on one’s perspective, reshuffled its executive ranks or rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic. Recognizing the need to do something public following the recent dramatic slump in the company’s share price – down another 4.75% on Wednesday to a new record low of $2.81 – Zynga has taken the game development mantle from COO John Schappert and given it to Chief Mobile Officer David Ko and Exec VP of Games Steve Chiang. The company issued a statement calling the move a bid “to unify our company around a multi-platform approach … to integrate web and mobile groups.”

The emphasis on mobile reflects a dire need to follow consumers as they move away from playing Zynga games on their desktop computers and toward gaming on their handheld ‘smart’ devices. AppData’s most recent Facebook game charts show top Zynga titles Farmville, CityVille, Words With Friends and Bubble Safari all shedding users like a white cat sheds hairs on a black sofa. The few bright spots include Zynga’s Texas HoldEm Poker, which hit a new peak of 7.6m daily average users in July, and new game The Ville, which debuted on the most recent daily average user chart just behind Zynga Poker with 7.3m.

Facebook shares also hit a new low on Wednesday, falling nearly 4% to close at $20.88. ZDNet’s Eileen Brown brought to light a conspiracy theory currently making the rounds, namely, that Facebook’s recent algorithm change that allegedly de-emphasized Zynga’s older titles was designed to lower Zynga’s stock price – if so, er, well done – in order to make Zynga a less expensive acquisition target.

Adding insult to injury, Forbes’ Eric Savitz examined Zynga’s current market cap of $2.15b against its net cash and investments ($1.54b), receivables ($115m) and physical assets such as its plant and equipment ($499m) and came up with a total of – ta-dum – $2.15b. In other words, the market apparently believes Zynga’s long term worth is negligible. Do ‘buy low’ types act now, or bet that the stock will fall even further?

Closing on a social gaming positive note, another brick-and-mortar casino has added International Game Technology’s Double Down Casino to their website. Wednesday saw the tribal-run Golden Acorn Casino in Campo, California sign on for Double Down’s mix of free-play poker and casino games, including popular IGT slots titles like Cleopatra and Da Vinci Diamonds. Tuesday saw the Casino Del Sol Resort in Arizona ink a similar deal with Double Down.


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