As a second wave of the coronavirus hits the U.S., mobile games are seeing strong interest with people seeking entertainment during quarantine. Game developers, such as FarmVille and Words With Friends maker Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNGA), are looking for acquisitions to keep their portfolios fresh. In 2020, Zynga made deals for Peak and Rollic. Mergers and Acquisitions spoke with Zynga chief operating officer Matt Bromberg about the company’s acquisition strategy.
How has the pandemic shifted Zynga’s M&A strategy?
In short, not a whole lot. We continue to see opportunities to acquire talented teams and franchises to further accelerate our growth strategy. We look for talent and assets that we expect will contribute to Zynga for many, many years. And we spend a tremendous amount of time getting to know people at a human level to ensure cultural fit. None of that has changed.
What trends are you seeing in the mobile games sector?
Consumers are interested in social games they can play anywhere, on any platform. They want deep, immersive experiences, and delightful, frequent updates to their gameplay. So we look for teams and technology and franchises that understand those drivers. At the same time, there is a broad segment of players looking for broader, simple, more readily accessible experiences that are more advertising-driven models. And there are a lot of really interesting teams taking on that challenge as well. We’ve recently completed acquisitions in both of those segments.
What type of acquisitions is the company seeking?
We think primarily in terms of talent, and look for great teams that are as passionate as we are, and want to build for the long-term. If you’ve got that, the rest usually falls into place.
How are the Rollic and Peak acquisitions working out?
The Peak team is already fully integrated, and it has been a pleasure working with them. Toon Blast and Toy Blast are both constantly improving and delighting players, and both were strong contributors in their first full quarter at Zynga. We closed the Rollic deal on Oct. 1, and it’s off to a great start. The opportunity to build out the scale of our network by millions of more players has been really inspiring for our folks.
What advice do you have for other companies looking to make deals?
Nothing fundamental has changed about the environment. Don’t skip steps. Get to know people. Understand their dreams and aspirations. Make a commitment to helping them achieve those dreams and aspirations. And live up to those commitments. That’s good advice in any environment.