Zynga Inc (ZNGA) Courts Xbox Chief, Shares Soar on News

Zynga Inc (ZNGA) Courts Xbox Chief, Shares Soar on News

Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) shares rose as much as 12 percent after All Things D’s Kara Swisher reported that a key industry player may be taking the helm at the struggling gaming company (the news has now been confirmed). Don Mattrick, the chief of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Xbox division, may go to Zynga and perhaps even become the company’s CEO, sources told the online publication.

Zynga Inc (ZNGA) Courts Xbox Chief, Shares Soar on News

Will Zynga Pull Mattrick Away From Microsoft?

Multiple sources apparently told All Things D that Mattrick, who heads up Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Interactive Entertainment division, will leave the company and possibly take one of the top positions at Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA). The sources said he may become the troubled gaming company’s CEO and work closely with founder and current CEO Mark Pincus.

They also said that the announcement could be made as early as today after the markets shut down.

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Problems Facing Zynga

If Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) is able to pull Mattrick away from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), it would be a key one for the company. Even with today’s gains, the company’s stock is still down more than 60 percent since its initial public offering in late 2011.

The company has also seen a number of its key executives leave over the last year or so, and it has been struggling financially as well, laying off employees, shuttering some of its games and shutting down offices.

Mattrick And Microsoft

What’s especially interesting about the possibility of Mattrick going to Zynga is that he has also been named as a possible new chief for Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), another struggling gaming company. EA’s CEO was ousted earlier this year. Distinctive Software, the gaming company Mattrick founded at the age of 17, was later acquired by Electronic Arts, so there is a natural connection there as well.

Currently Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer is considering undertaking a massive restructuring at the company, although the possibility of Mattrick leaving doesn’t seem to be related. The sources told All Things D that Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) has been negotiating with Mattrick for quite some time.

Also Mattrick has apparently wanted to move back to the Bay area, which may be another thing to consider as he mulls this possible move.

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