Zynga finally announces Softbank investment

$150 million from Japanese telecom company ensures deployment of Zynga games overseas

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
July 29, 2010
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/10e6

zyngaConfirming news over a month old, Zynga on Thursday announced that Japanese telecommunications and media corporation Softbank has completed a $150 million investment in the social gaming company.

The press release for the announcement says Zynga and Softbank have formed a new joint venture called Zynga Japan that will develop and distribute social games in Japan.

The new funding, added to a reported $100-200 million from Google, a confirmed $180 million from Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies, and earlier (comparatively) small rounds, brings the San Francisco-based startup's total raised funds to around $500 million.

Valuations for Zynga, according to the most recent market approximations, hover in the $5 million range.

While two other popular social gaming startups--Playfish and Playdom--exited via acquisitions, Zynga happily takes on more investments to drive its own goals. Last November, Electronic Arts bought Playfish for at least $275 million in cash and $25 million in equity retention arrangements with an extra $100 million waiting for Playfish's owners depending on whether the studio meets certain performance milestones by the end of 2011. Similarly, Disney this week agreed to pay $563.2 million up-front for Playdom, with an additional $200 million waiting for Playdom's owners if set milestones are reached.

And even though Zynga seems to be skirting acquisition offers, don't think the startup has any plans for going public. CEO Mark Pincus made his opinion crystal clear at our Vator Splash event in February:

"I always scratched my head and said, 'Why?' Why on Earth would you go public if you want your company to be sustainable and to last? I get really confused why anyone would go public. I've gone public before. It's not an exit, it's an entry."

Though not taking any exits yet, Zynga's latest Asia partnership loosens the company's dependence on Facebook, a smart move for the blooming social startup.

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Description: Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are avail...
Description: Playfish is a social games company that creates games for people to play together. Founded in October 2007 by casual and mobile games v...

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