‘GTA’ publisher Take-Two buys ‘Farmville’ developer Zynga in $12.7 billion deal

The deal has not yet been closed, so a higher bidder could step in.

Sign with logo at the headquarters of social gaming company Zynga in the South of Market (SoMa) neig...
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Take-Two Interactive — owner of both 2k Games and Rockstar Games — has announced it is buying mobile game publisher Zynga for $12.7 billion. The cash and stock deal will close in 45 days, so if Zynga wants to shop around for a better one, there’s still time.

The CEO of Take-Two Strauss Zelnick has called the deal a “transformative transaction” that “significantly diversifies our business and establishes our leadership position in mobile, the fastest growing segment of the interactive entertainment industry.”

Zynga’s flagship title is the 2007 mobile game Farmville. Since then, it has published mobile slots games, Zynga Poker, Words with Friends and numerous Farmville sequels and spinoffs. In 2020, Zynga titles had 134 million monthly users. And Zynga has been acquiring smaller gaming studios of its own over the past few years, adding Rollic and Echtra Games to its portfolio.

Why does this matter? — It seems that Take-Two wants to use its ownership of Zynga to drive the development of mobile games based on Take-Two titles. The company has a number of big names under its belt already, including Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, and Borderlands as well as series made with the NBA and WWE. The Zynga acquisition means that more mobile titles are coming, whether gamers want them or not.

But what the Zynga buy really means is that Take-Two is looking to expand its audience. According to influencer marketing research company Mediakix, mobile gamers skew older and female. 63% of all mobile gamers are women, and 63% of all mobile gamers are over the age of 25.

Mobile money — Mobile gaming is also extremely lucrative, with revenue that exceeds that of PC and console gaming. Mobile gaming made $90.7 billion globally last year, compared to PC gaming’s $35.9 billion and console gaming’s $49.2 billion. This means that mobile gaming made $5.6 billion more in 2021 than all PC and console gaming combined.