Take-Two Interactive to Buy FarmVille Maker Zynga in $11 Billion Deal

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.

TTWO -14.06%

agreed to buy

Zynga Inc.

ZNGA 45.22%

in a roughly $11 billion deal as the maker of “Grand Theft Auto” looks to expand its mobile portfolio with hits like “Words With Friends.”

The cash-and-stock deal announced Monday is one of the videogame industry’s bigger acquisitions to date. Take-Two Chief Executive

Strauss Zelnick

said a purchase of Zynga would give it a strong position in mobile, “the fastest-growing segment of the interactive entertainment industry.”

With the cash-and-stock deal, Zynga stockholders would receive $9.86 for each share they own, including $3.50 in cash and $6.36 of Take-Two stock. The companies said the deal had an enterprise value of $12.7 billion, which includes debt.

The deal, which is expected to close by midyear, represents about a 64% premium to Zynga’s stock price of $6 as of Friday’s close. In morning trading Monday, Zynga shares rose 45% to $8.73, while Take-Two fell 11% to $146.91.

Take-Two is best known for its computer and console game franchises such as Grand Theft Auto and NBA 2K, though in recent years it has expanded into mobile games through acquisitions of studios Playdots, SocialPoint and Nordeus. Zynga specializes in mobile games, and its portfolio includes hits such as “FarmVille” and “CSR Racing.”

Shares of Zynga fell in August when the company said it saw greater-than-expected audience declines because of easing pandemic restrictions. The company also has taken a hit from the recent changes to

Apple Inc.’s

mobile platform that make it harder to track users for the purpose of selling targeted advertising.

In November, Zynga reported record third-quarter bookings and narrowed its loss, as advertising sales nearly doubled.

The global videogame industry has been one of the bigger benefactors of the pandemic’s social-distancing restrictions. Consumer spending on mobile games has been particularly robust in recent years, outpacing that of spending on console and computer games combined.

Deal activity has also been heavy in the videogame sector, which overall generated an estimated $180.3 billion in global consumer spending last year, according to analytics firm Newzoo BV. Last year,

Microsoft Corp.

bought the owner of the popular Doom videogame franchise for $7.5 billion, its biggest games acquisition. Also last year,

Electronic Arts Inc.

acquired Glu Mobile Inc. for $2.4 billion and Playdemic Ltd. for $1.4 billion.

Notably, EA also purchased Codemasters Group Holdings last February for $1.2 billion after Take-Two initially bid on the company, which is known for its Formula One auto-racing series.

Zynga has grown through deal-making as well in recent years, having purchased studios such as Rollic, ByteTyper and StarLark. The…

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