Zynga Inc (ZNGA) Gets Mixed Reviews From Analysts

Zynga Inc (ZNGA) Gets Mixed Reviews From Analysts

Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)’s third quarter earnings may have come out flat, but they still beat earnings expectations on Wall Street. The post-earnings analyst thoughts have been mixed about the company. Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)’s shares have consistently risen after the company announced a $200 million shares buyback, cost cutting plans, and a new real money poker partnership with Bwin.party.

So far, Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) Merrill Lynch’s analysis is still holding the company at an underperform rating. BAML thinks that the company’s plan to cut costs from restructuring and closing several of its studios could take time in producing the desired effects. BAML notes that the expected growth will be offset by problems in the transition to mobile technology and limited popularity of new game titles. Justin Post writes, “Zynga is an early-stage company, and risks to our price objective are lower than expected bookings growth, due to category maturity, challenges in establishing successful new content and player churn, due to greater competition, given low barriers to entry. Other risks are potentially better visibility, or even press announcements, upcoming game releases, and improvement in DAU trends on strength of new titles.”

The earnings on an EBITDA basis are expected to be negative for the next year, non-GAAP bookings estimates for 2013 have been lowered by BAML.

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Other firms had mixed comments on the new developments announced by Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA). One firm that expects growth from the company is Needham & Co. Sean McGowan thinks that good days are possible, as share buybacks signal confidence from Zynga’s board. Needham & Co now rates the company at Buy. He thinks that Zynga’s administration understands the dire need to monetize on mobile, and can therefore fast track on this line of business.

Robert W. Baird & Co expects the company to benefit from the new partnership with Bwin.party, which will kickstart Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) into real money gambling in the UK, but notes that the company has to bring back its ability to produce hit titles for all avenues – mobile, social, and browser.

 Piper Jaffray appreciates the plan to reduce costs, but thinks that the 5 percent reduction in workforce, as announced in the earnings call, could also result in loss of valuable creative talent, which can later limit the company’s ability to produce new titles.

BMO Capital advises caution until some results are visible, but is hopeful that the company will eventually regain its lost strength and produce better performance.

Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) rose as high as 18 percent ($2.50) today, shares are now trading at $2.39.

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