Zynga Preparing for IPO

Is a game-maker more valuable than Sony? Maybe.

By Chris Roberts
|  Friday, Dec 2, 2011  |  Updated 10:52 AM PDT
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Zynga Preparing for IPO

Joi Ito

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus is in line for a huge pay day when his company goes public.

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The biggest initial public offering since Google could be a $20 billion $9.04 billion windfall for the company that sells imaginary cows.

San Francisco technology company Zynga makes online games like FarmVille. Pundits say the company could make $20 billion between $7 billion to over $9 billion with its IPO, expected sometime over the next few weeks, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The company makes games but also reaps reams of data from its 230 million users, who pay real dollars for their Facebook-based farms but also hand over heaps of personal information, according to the newspaper. This is what makes the company so valuable, experts say -- the data gold mine Zynga's farm is sitting on top of, as well as the advertising mill the company's generating.

Currently, Facebook takes a 30 percent cut of the real-life ducats users fork over for cows, guns, and other Ville-based goods. The in-game ads are a way to break away from that relationship.

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