Zynga Acquires Clumsy Ninja Developer NaturalMotion For $527 Million


Zynga announced on Thursday that they plan to lay off about 15 percent of its workforce, which works out to approximately 314 employees. The news comes less than a year after the company laid off 500 employees, which occurred during the summer of 2013.

The move was decided during a year-long corporate restructuring by CEO Don Mattrick, who took the position from co-founder Mark Pincus last July. The layoffs are supposed to help trim its workforce allowing the company to focus on particular types of games. Mattrick believes this decision will help drive revenue in the future.

The decision also makes room for their acquisition of NaturalMotion, the Oxford, England-based gaming startup behind the very popular mobile game Clumsy Ninja. The acquisition of NaturalMotion is the company’s largest acquisition to date, topping its acquisition of OMGPOP in 2012.

The company is paying for the startup with $391 million in cash and 39.8 million in shares. Zynga CEO Don Mattrick explains, in an interview, why they paid so much for the startup.

“At their core, they have a breakthrough tools and tech pipeline which I believe will become more and more valuable as tablets and phones increase in their performance capability.”

Before the folks at NaturalMotion got into game development they were a middleware company, making graphics engines to power fluid animation, along with research in artificial intelligence. Their technology has been used in console games like Grand Theft Auto V, Max Payne, and Red Dead Redemption.

The startup company might become a big advantage for Zynga, as mobile hardware platforms become more sophisticated, which could lead to major advances in mobile gaming. With the purchase, Zynga will acquire an additional 260 employees from NaturalMotion across its San Francisco, London, Brighton and Oxford locations.

[via Re/code]

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