Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) rose as much as 5 percent on Wednesday, still enjoying a boost from the company’s hiring of Don Mattrick. Mattrick is leaving Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) where he heads up the Xbox division and will replace founder mark Pincus as CEO of Zynga.
Mattrick Is A Positive For Zynga
Venturebeat’s Dean Takahashi reports that Wall Street analysts have mixed reactions to Mattrick joining Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)’s ranks. The general consensus though is that it’s a positive move for the struggling gaming company. Of course Mattrick will have his work cut out for him when he goes to Zynga.
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The company has been attempting to expand into mobile gaming, but it hasn’t managed to generate any significant amount of revenue from mobile. Also it is no longer king of social gaming, as AppData indicates that King.com took the crown from Zynga this year.
Mattrick’s Track Record At Microsoft
Don Mattrick has a solid track record at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), so he just might have what it takes to turn Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) around. He took the Xbox 360 from 10 million consoles up to 80 million consoles. He also grew the number of Xbox Live memberships from six million up to 50 million.
Positive Analyst Ratings For Zynga
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter maintained his $4.25 per share price target and outperform rating for Zynga. He believes that the gaming company will return to profitability by sometime next year. The company has announced a number of layoffs and shuttered several games recently, which he says will help Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) in its recovery.
Many investors have been counting on online gambling to help Zynga recover, but it will take some time to see if this strategy will be effective. The company has just started testing gambling in the U.K., and it probably won’t see significant revenue from it for the next few years.
However, Pachter believes that Mattrick will be able to help Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) streamline its operations and focus its efforts on the projects with the highest revenue potential. He said if Mattrick is going to be successful in turning the company around, Pincus must allow him to do whatever he thinks is necessary to make it better. It’s believed that Pincus wants the best for his company, so there is a good chance he will do this.
Neutral Ratings For Zynga
Cowen and Co. analyst Doug Creutz, on the other hand, remains cautious about Zynga even with the hiring of Mattrick, according to Venturebeat. In fact, he lowered his estimates for the company’s 2013 revenue to $782 million from $809 million and his earnings per share estimates to a loss of eight cents per share in losses from his previous estimate of 7 cents per share in losses.
He believes that since Mattrick’s experience is in consoles, he might not be the right choice for Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA). He notes that other executives with success in consoles have experienced difficulties in adapting their abilities to free-to-play companies. He also said there’s the potential for personality clashes between Pincus and Mattrick since the two will work closely together.