Take-Two to acquire Zynga for $12.7 billion

Sam Desatoff, Monday, January 10th, 2022 6:40 pm

Take-Two, the publisher of Grand Theft Auto and Civilization, has announced the acquisition of mobile giant Zynga in a deal worth a gargantuan $12.7 billion. It’s a titanic move that’s bound to shake up the mobile landscape given Zynga’s long-time status as one of the leading publishers in the sector.

“We are thrilled to announce our transformative transaction with Zynga, which significantly diversifies our business and establishes our leadership position in mobile, the fastest growing segment of the interactive entertainment industry,” Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said in the announcement.

As part of the acquisition, Take-Two will add two Zynga members to its own board of directors.

For Craig Chapple, mobile insights strategist at analytics provider Sensor Tower, the deal instantly makes Take-Two a leading player in the mobile market. Over the last few years, Take-Two has shown interest in the mobile sector via a handful of notable acquisitions, including Social Point, Playdots, and Nordeus, but the purchase of Zynga makes a bigger statement than any previous activity. 

“Zynga gives Take-Two all the foundations it needs for a top to bottom mobile business, including proven development and publishing expertise,” Chapple told GameDaily. “Zynga brings with it top games and IP, live operations experience for free-to-play and live service games, and a diverse portfolio across different genres.”

It helps that Zynga has been on a buying spree of its own in recent years. Chapple noted that the acquisition by Take-Two includes a number of Zynga-owned studios, including Small Giant Games, Peak Games, Gram Games, Naturalmotion, and Rollic.

“Clearly it’s a massive acquisition that marks a significant statement of intent for Take-Two in the mobile space in the biggest way possible,” he explained. “The publisher is already highly successful outside of mobile, and while it has already made some acquisitions in this space, this move really takes its mobile business to another level.”

If Take-Two is looking to make a play for the mobile space, then it’s certainly come out swinging. According to Sensor Tower’s data, In 2021, Toon Blast from the Zynga-owned Peak Games generated more than $415 million in player spending, making it Zynga’s number one revenue generator last year. 

Meanwhile, the Small Giant-developed Empires and Puzzles brought in around $378 million, and Toy Blast, also from Peak, commanded approximately $209 million.

“Buying Zynga significantly adds to Take-Two’s revenue stream, while bringing with it a vast array of intellectual property and expertise in mobile development and publishing,” Chapple said.

It’s not necessarily just the games of the mobile segment that Take-Two is investing in: Zynga has been building its ads business thanks to purchases like Chartboost, which will provide Take-Two with a method to drive engagement with their titles.

In all, Take-Two’s acquisition of Zynga represents a major shift in the mobile gaming sector. Moving forward, we’re likely to see a number of mobile titles based on many of Take-Two’s most popular IPs, such as Grand Theft Auto. It will certainly be interesting to track the results of this purchase.

Sam, the Editor-in-Chief of GameDaily.biz, is a former freelance game reporter. He's been seen at IGN, PCGamesN, PCGamer, Unwinnable, and many more. When not writing about games, he is most likely taking care of his two dogs or pretending to know a lot about artisan coffee. Get in touch with Sam by emailing him at sdesatoff@rektglobal.com or follow him on Twitter.

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