The new chief executive officer of Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA), Don Mattrick, targeted the acquisition of a part or the entire online social gaming company while serving as head of the entertainment division of Microsoft Corporation three years ago, according to report from Douglas McMillan and Dina Bass of Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the matter.


Mattrick tried to negotiate a transaction with Mark Pincus, founder of Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA), for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) to acquire the online social games developer. In 2010, Mattrick’s objective was to boost the Xbox line up, as millions of users were playing social games on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) per week. The sources, who requested anonymity, said that the negotiation between Mattrick and Pincus failed.

Mattrick Still Thinks Zynga Has the Goods

Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) lost its position as the number one online social games developer on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to as many users shifted their interest to playing mobile apps on their smartphones and tablets. Since its initial public offering (IPO), the stock value of the company plummeted to approximately 66 percent. Despite the many problems confronting the online social games developer, Mattrick accepted the challenge to lead the company and left his position at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).

Gartner analyst Van Baker previously commented that Mattrick has a “history of liking to move into organizations that have challenges.”

According to Eric Gordon, business professor at the University of Michigan, Mattrick is confronted with two challenges. He said, “He has to find a way to turn around a company that went from cool to cold, and he has work out his relationship to Mark Pincus, who won’t be CEO but will be in control.”

Zynga Looks to Road Ahead, EA and MS in the Rearview Mirror

On the other hand, Trip Hawkins, founder of Electronic Arts, Inc (NASDAQ:EA) described Mattrick as a “veteran leader who has evolved in the game space.” According to him, the new CEO of Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) “knows that consoles are being replaced by cloud-based mobile games,” and “views companies like EA and Microsoft as moving into the rearview mirror, whereas Zynga is on the road ahead.”

Matrrick started his own company at the age of 17 and earned his reputation as a no-nonsense executive during his tenure at Electronic Arts, Inc (NASDAQ:EA) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) where he worked for a decade and six years, respectively.

New CEO’s Compensation Package

According to Bloomberg, Mattrick was recognized for high standards. For example, when a team at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) did not meet his expectations for the first version of the Xbox Music service, he immediately appointed a new manager with his own group to resolve some issues.

In a regulatory filing last week, Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) revealed that Mattrick will receive a lucrative compensation package worth more than $50 million. He will receive a signing bonus of $5 million, $ 1 million salary, $25 million in restricted stock that will be vested in three years, and additional $15 million worth of restricted shares and options.