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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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