Take-Two kicked off the week with a bang, announcing it would buy mobile game developer Zynga for a whopping $ 12.7 billion deal. At first glance, this might seem like a headache considering that Microsoft paid $ 7.5 billion for ZeniMax and all of its subsidiary studios last year, but Take-Two apparently sees a great opportunity to get out into the world with it quickly of mobile gaming to expand this acquisition. For some, this may be a worrying prospect.
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Take-Two buys a notorious mobile publisher
Take-Two and Zynga are two well-known names in the industry. The former is one of the largest publishers in the world, responsible for games and franchises such as Borderland, civilization, Grand Theft Auto, and Red Dead Redemption. Zynga, on the other hand, started out as one of the earliest Facebook game developers and publishers before eventually switching to mobile. Some of his most popular titles, including FarmVille, Words with friends, and Zynga Poker, are common names even among mainstream consumers who don’t necessarily refer to themselves as gamers.
Now the two are teaming up, and Take-Two announces today that it will buy all of Zynga’s outstanding shares at $ 9.86 per share – $ 3.50 in cash and $ 6.36 in Take-Two common stock for each bought Zynga stock. This is a massive acquisition at a jaw-dropping price, but it’s not yet set in stone.
First, Zynga and Take-Two shareholders must approve the merger. Zynga also has 45 days to shop around and seek potentially better deals from other companies, although it is unlikely to find a potential buyer willing to surpass what Take-Two has to offer here. Of course, the deal also requires regulatory approval.
Assuming everything stays on course and shareholders and regulators approve the merger, Take-Two expects it to close by the end of the first quarter of fiscal year 2023, which ends June 30, 2022. In six months’ time, Zynga and Take-Two could be one and the same.
Why this deal may give some players a break
The merger of Take-Two and Zynga could mean big things for the mobile gaming space. In its announcement today, Take-Two specifically points out that this acquisition will automatically make it one of the largest mobile gaming publishers in the world franchise in the world of mobile gaming.
“Take-Two has an extensive catalog of commercially and critically successful console and PC titles with engaged and loyal gaming communities, and there is a meaningful opportunity to develop mobile games and new cross-platform experiences for many of these traits,” the company wrote in a Press release. “Zynga’s nearly 3,000 employees include highly talented mobile developers who are paving the way for Take-Two to accelerate this strategic initiative and bring its iconic intellectual traits to the industry’s fastest growing platform.”
For those familiar with how the mobile gaming industry works, this may not be as exciting a prospect as it is for Take-Two. Cell phone games are often teeming with microtransactions and other, even more predatory monetization schemes such as loot boxes and gacha mechanics. Take-Two hasn’t shied away from implementing such features in its console and PC titles either, so we can probably expect the company to be just as enthusiastic, or even more, of the idea of bringing popular franchises to mobile, complete with questionable pricing models.
While this may not be a problem for people who never play games on phones, one also has to wonder if there will be an overflow between these mobile titles and Take-Two’s console and PC offerings. Some games like that NBA 2K Series and Grand Theft Auto Online, are already being monetized like mobile games, and with a greater focus on mobile devices after this acquisition is complete, Take-Two could be encouraged to roll out such monetization programs across the board.
We’ll see how it all turns out, but one thing is certain: if the Take-Two / Zynga merger comes off, there will be many more Take-Two mobile franchises available in the future. We’ll let you know when more is revealed, so stay tuned.
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