Zynga beats revenue targets in 2021, as Take-Two takeover nears

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Revenue for the 12 months to December 31, 2021 was 41.8% higher than the $1.98bn posted in the previous year, also beating the business’ projections by 0.8%.

Online games remained the primary source of revenue for the business, with revenue amounting to $2.25bn, up 34.9% year-on-year. Advertising and other revenue also increased 79.2% to $551.3m.

Zynga also noted that bookings – which adds deferred revenue to the total – for the year reached a record $2.83bn, up 24.5% on last year and also 0.4% ahead of guidance for the 12-month period.

Average mobile daily active users were 37 million, up 3% year-over-year, while average mobile monthly active users reached 184 million, an increase of 38% on the previous year.

The group completed a number of acquisitions throughout the course of 2021 including the purchase of Chartboost for a total purchase price of approximately $250.0m in August.

Zynga also acquired mobile games developer StarLark from Betta Games for $525.0m in October, while in November, the group’s Rollic,Turkish games developer subsidiary purchased mobile game studios ByteTyper, Creasaur Entertainment and ZeroSum.

Last month, Zynga itself became the target. Video games giant Take-Two Interactive agreed to purchase the business in a deal that values Zynga at $12.7bn.

Take-Two, which owns Grand Theft Auto publisher Rockstar and 2K Games, developer of the NBA 2K series, expects to complete the purchase by June this year.

Looking at costs, Zynga’s total expenses for the year were 17.1% higher at $2.75bn, leaving an operating profit of $55.8m, compared to a $370.2m loss in the prior year.

While interest and financial costs of $64.0m pushed Zynga to a pre-tax loss of $8.2m, this was a significant improvement on the $405.4m loss posted at the end of 2020.

Zynga also paid $96.0m in tax, meaning that it ended the year with a net loss of $104.2m, compared to the $429.4m loss reported at the end of 2020.

Focusing on the fourth quarter of the year, revenue amounted to $695.4m, a new record for the business and a 12.9% increase from $616.0m in 2020. Online games revenue was up 7.1% to $534.0m, while advertising and other revenue climbed 37.5% to $161.4m.

Bookings for the three months to December 31 were also up 4.0% year-on-year to $727.0m.

Total costs and expenses increased 8.3% to $696.7m, leaving an operating loss of $1.3m, compared to a $27.5m in Q4 of 2020. Interest costs of $23.8m meant pre-tax loss for the quarter was $25.1m, an improvement on the $46.9m loss posted in the previous year.

Zynga paid $42.1m in tax during the quarter, leaving a net loss of $67.2m, compared to a $53.0m in the same period of 2020.

“Our strong Q4 results capped off our record 2021 performance where we delivered our highest annual revenue and bookings ever, while reaching the largest mobile audience in Zynga history,” Zynga chief executive Frank Gibeau said.

“I am proud of our team’s execution across all aspects of our growth strategy including live services, new game development and investments in our advertising platform, new markets and technologies to solidify Zynga as a leading mobile-first, free-to-play live services company.”

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