All of a sudden, the public markets don’t seem so lousy.
Zynga, long-time king of social gaming on the Facebook platform and beyond, may be about to file for its initial public offering, according to sources (via All Things Digital). The offering, which could go down as early as the end of June, would help the company take advantage of still-strong investor interest in one of the Web’s most viable crossroads, social and gaming.
Bankers from both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are rumored to have been approached as potential candidates to lead the IPO.
Zynga has declined to comment.
The report arrives in a time where Web companies are finally seeing value in exiting to the public markets. First there was ReachLocal last year, and Demand Media earlier this year.
Then May brought on the social media IPO storm. Chinese social networking website Renren (“Facebook of China”) went public on the NYSE, trading under the ticker “RENN,” selling 60 million shares and raising $743 million. Even more exciting for stateside investors was the IPO for LinkedIn, the first U.S.-based social networking site, which by the end of its first trading day (under “LNKD”) had attained a market cap of $8.91 million.
Finally, it’s not a social site, but Yandex (“Google of Russia”) just yesterday debuted on the NASDAQ as “YNDX,” which is most lately expected to raise $1.8 billion with a market cap of $11.2 billion.
“I think every private company watched the LinkedIn IPO and said, ‘What if I could do that tomorrow?’” said Bing Gordon, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “But every day is different.”
(It’s worth noting that Kleiner Perkins created the $250 million sFund for developers on the Facebook platform. And Gordon is a Zynga board member.)
Perhaps more than any of these companies, Zynga could have the sexiest and richest IPO of them all.
With over 225 million monthly active users and having raised over $500 million in venture capital funding, the company is the clear leader on the Facebook platform, itself home to a user base of 600 million members (which is, presumably, still growing). Last time Zynga raised capital, it had a valuation of $10 billion, but the excitement generated by going public would likely raise that bar.
As far as financials go, Zynga last year is reported to have pulled in $400 million in profit on around $850 million in revenue.
Even though a great portion of Zynga’s success has come by building upon Facebook’s platform, the company is nothing to scoff at. Today, it has over 1,500 full-time employees in 13 offices across six countries.
And like all the IPOs mentioned above, Zynga going public would only drive further excitement over a future Facebook IPO, which we all know is coming.