Zynga Buys NaturalMotion and Announces Workforce Cut

Zynga Inc announced this week it would acquire NaturalMotion, the company that produces the mobile games Clumsy Ninja and CSR Racing. At the same time, it announced it would cut 15% of its overall workforce in an effort to turnaround the company.

The company announced it would move up its release of earnings for the fourth quarter by one week to coincide with its $527 million acquisition and job cuts. Shares of the company were up 63 cents, which was an 18% jump to $4.19 on Friday.

Zynga has cut many jobs while posting losses as more and more game players are turning to playing on tablets and smartphones.

The biggest hits of the company including Mafia Wars and FarmVille have been played for the most part on laptop and desktop computers.

By acquiring NaturalMotion, the company hopes it can bolster its games while its core business continues to deteriorate.

King.com, which makes Candy Crush Saga the popular game, replaced Zynga as the No. 1 games maker for Facebook.

However, Zynga announced it would release FarmVille in the second quarter on mobile devices, which it believes will help to reverse its slide in playing audiences.

The purchase of NaturalMotion gives exclusive access to Zynga of its game engine named Euphoria on the different mobile platforms. This engine is the power that moves the human like motions of the main character on Clumsy Ninja, who is able to be tickled, hoisted and thrown around with just a tap or swipe of the fingers.

One analyst called the move by Zynga risky, but said the company needed an aggressive move.

The newest job cuts will hit 314 of Zynga’s employees and is expected to save the company between $33 million and $35 million in 2014.

The game company has made many job cuts to its staff. Now it has close to 2,100 employees, which is down from its high of 3,300 during 2012.

Clive Downie, the COO said the reorganization of its staff would cut development of its games that were not in the popular categories where the company could be No. 1.

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