Zynga files for an IPO

Social games company hopes to raise up to $1 billion in offering


I'm keeping this one short because most people already have a foot out the door for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Social games maker Zynga on Friday finally filed to go public. I say "finally" because the word on the Internet Tuesday was that Zynga would file on Wednesday, so there may have been a delay, or the ubiquitous "people familiar with the matter" weren't quite correct, at least about the timing.

(Also see: Zynga reportedly set to file for IPO)

But just to prove I'm not making this up, here's Zynga's S-1, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on July 1.

We'll get under the IPO hood, so to speak, next Tuesday, when most readers will be back.

One thing I will say now is that the timing of the filing is weird. Why file for a long-awaited public offering on the day before a long, summer holiday weekend? Or even on a Friday, for that matter. It's like one of those classic Washington Friday-afternoon document dumps.

Those, however, are done to minimize coverage. You'd think Zynga would want to make a big splash in the tech/business press. Guess what, you crazy social game makers? The pool's almost empty now.

I'm not implying Zynga has anything to hide; indeed, unlike other companies that have recently gone public, it's profitable. I just think the timing is odd.

In any event, I'm eager to dig into the filing. Until then, here are some facts and observations:

* Zynga hasn't settled on a ticker symbol yet, though ZYNG is available.

* Notes to prospective investors in an S-1 filing shouldn't include the sentence, "My kids decided a few months ago that peek-a-boo was their favorite game." I feel strongly about this.

* The company says it hopes to raise up to $1 billion, though those figures often change, with Pandora providing the most recent example.

* There's no share-price offer range yet.

* Zynga claims it has 232 million average monthly active users in 166 countries.

* Players worldwide spend 2 billion minutes a day on Zynga's games. By my math, that breaks down to nearly 1.4 million 24-hour days of playing games on Zynga. A day! I hate to sound like a curmudgeon, so I'll only say this once: Can you imagine if just a fraction of that time were used toward something productive?

* Zynga's revenue in the first quarter of this year was $235 million, up from $101 million in the first quarter of 2010.

* The company's revenue last year was $597.5 million, nearly five times its 2009 revenue of $121.5 million.

* Zynga's net profit in this year's Q1 was $11.8 million, up from $6.4 million in the year-ago quarter.

* Net profit for last year was $90.6 million, versus a net loss of $52.8 million in 2009.

* Lead underwriter is Morgan Stanley, along with Goldman Sachs, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, J.P. Morgan and Allen & Company.

Not that anyone's reading this. But if you are, have a great Fourth of July weekend.

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