Zynga CEO Mark Pincus is doing this IPO thing his way after getting the biggest public offering since Google. Last night, the gaming company confirmed it succeeded in more than achieving its $1 billion dollar goal. When the Farmville makers went on the road earlier this week, they had sought to sell 100 million shares at $8.50 and $10, for around a maximum $7 billion valuation. This morning's offering, after selling more than 100 million shares at $10 per share, will value the company at $8.9 million.
After raising a ton of cash for his gaming empire, Pincus has opted to ring the bell from the company's San Francisco office, rather than the traditional New York location. The move embodies Pincus's haughty "one-percenter" reputation. Though, he didn't need this IPO to goad that ego. Pincus was already rich before the offering. He got an even better deal in March, according to regulatory filings, note The Wall Street Journal's Shayndi Raice and Justin Scheck, selling a small portion of his stocks at $14 a share for a $109 million profit. Pincus can afford to celebrate, even if the company tanks after trading starts, a la Groupon. And, if it does well, he owns 16 percent of the company for $1.12 billion stake.
As Pincus celebrates, the real test for the company, like we said, will come when Zynga begins publicly trading this morning on the NASDAQ, explains AllThingsD's Tricia Duryee. "It is looked at as favorable if the stock jumps right out of the gate; if trading is more modest, it could signal that Zynga was priced fairly," she writes. As we saw with Groupon, things can go way downhill after a popped stock. Of course, there is one key difference between Groupon and Zynga. Zynga actually makes money. In the first nine months of this year, Zynga's revenue doubled to $829 million dollars.
In general, the lower than anticipated IPO is still impressive, considering the market hasn't gotten any better and Groupon's IPO flop situation. This as-big-as-Google offering, puts Zynga in line with big-name game company Electronic Arts, according to Duryee. Though, analysts are mixed on whether the company really is worth all those billions. We'll just have to see how things go on the market this morning and in the coming weeks.
Update 11:55 am: At market's open Zynga's stock traded a little higher than the initial valuation at $11 per share. TechCrunch calls that 10 percent increase a "pop;" AllThingsD says it's a "slow" start. We'll see if this means it can avoid a Groupon-esque dropoff, or suffer the same fate as other tech IPOs this year.