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Zynga makes big mobile play with $527 million NaturalMotion acquisition
Zynga makes big mobile play with $527 million NaturalMotion acquisition
January 30, 2014 | By Kris Graft

Zynga announced Thursday the $527 million acquisition of NaturalMotion, a company focused on mobile game and technology development.

It's the first major acquisition under CEO Don Mattrick, who left Xbox to join Zynga last year. It's also a key play for Zynga, which has been working to get more breakout hits on mobile platforms. The purchase was made with cash and equity.

NaturalMotion develops game development tech, but also has teams focused around breakout mobile games, likely the chief source of Zynga's interest, including CSR Racing and Clumsy Ninja.

The purchase brings on NaturalMotion CEO Torsten Reil and VP of games Barclay Deeming. At the time of this agreement, NaturalMotion has 260 employees worldwide in Oxford, London, Brighton and San Francisco. The company has been around since 2001.

The news of the acquisition comes as Zynga announced layoffs of 314 of its employees, or 15 percent of its workforce.

Mattrick said in a statement, "Our acquisition of NaturalMotion will allow us to significantly expand our creative pipeline, accelerate our mobile growth and bring next-generation technology and tools to Zynga that we believe will fast track our ability to deliver more hit games."

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Katy Smith
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Interesting. I wonder why Zynga wants in the middleware market. This seems like an odd choice considering Zynga hasn't focused on tech in the past.

scott anderson
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Zynga is likely mostly acquiring them because of their mobile games, with middleware as an added bonus.

Christian Nutt
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Do they want in on the middleware market, or do they want the middleware to themselves? Could see a repeat of Criterion under EA and Renderware. I don't know if Mattrick had ANY involvement with that without looking into it, so I'm not suggesting it's a "repeat" in any meaningful way, might just be a coincidence.

Katy Smith
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Hey! Thanks for writing this whole article to answer my question! ;)