Zynga Wants Its Stock Back

Company hopes early employees will return some pre-IPO shares.

Friday, Nov 11, 2011  |  Updated 10:12 AM PDT
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Zynga Wants Its Stock Back

Joi Ito

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus wants some of his early employees to return shares of the company.

San Francisco-based virtual gamer Zynga is largely expected to be the next major startup to go public but the company's CEO wants to do some house cleaning before that happens.

CEO Mark Pincus wants some of the online game company's early employees to give back stock they own ahead of the company's initial public offering of stock, according to a published report Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal said that Pincus, who gave out stock freely to keep top talent early on,
developed "giver's remorse."

That's because some of the early employees didn't contribute as much to the company as those hired later. But because they got in early, they got more shares.

Zynga's games include "FarmVille," "Zynga Poker" and "CityVille" and are mostly played on Facebook.

The company has filed for an IPO but has not yet said how much it plans to raise. Getting into a hot startup early on and reaping the rewards after a sale or IPO is a big part of Silicon Valley culture.

The promise of a big payout is what gets a lot of people working long hours with little compensation early in a startup's life.

But the Journal said Pincus wanted people to keep working hard for the company even when it got
big rather than just "rest and vest" -- that is, wait to cash in.

The Journal cited unnamed people with knowledge of the matter. Zynga declined to comment. The
company has about 3,000 employees.

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