Despite Earnings Beat, Analysts Are Mixed On Zynga Inc


Zynga surprised the analysts and investors by beating second-quarter earnings expectations when it announced its report card last week. However, despite the impressive showing, analysts have a mixed opinion on the gaming firm.

Some improvement, but will it be enough?

In a note last week, Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju lauded the firms improved monetization efforts, but has set an Underperform rating on Zynga with a price target of $2.94. In contrast, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter sees “a light at the end of the tunnel” for Zynga.

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Pachter has an Outperform rating on the game maker with a price target of $6. In a note issued on August 7, Pachter said he expect the player metrics to “stabilize by year-end and begin to grow again in 2016” owing to the release of two new games in the second-quarter and three games in the fourth-quarter. The analyst notes that the strong “Q4 launch slate” could drive revenues up “higher sequentially, and to allow for bookings growth in 2016.”

Zynga need hit games

Separately, Bank of America’s Justin Post sees Zynga’s bookings as “somewhat stabilizing,” but noted that the active user base is still a concern. According to Post, the below-consensus guidance from the game maker is conservative considering the recent labor-cost savings initiatives from the company. If Zynga can come up with hit games, the analyst believes there is room for “stock enthusiasm” heading into 2016.

Morgan Stanley believes the fourth-quarter will be very important as it will be facing the release slate after a soft third-quarter. The limited geographical testing for the Dawn of Titans, which is expected to launch globally in the fourth-quarter, has been impressive, as the game was able to get users more engaged than the Empires and Allies. Apart from these analysts, Robert W. Baird reiterated a Hold rating on the gaming firm.

During the conference call, speaking on the current and the upcoming games, CEO Mark Pincus said, “We also launched Empires & Allies and FarmVille: Harvest Swap in Q2, and are excited for the upcoming launches of Dawn of Titans, CSR2 and our new Slots game later this year.”

As of around 11.35 am EDT Monday,  Zynga shares were up 1.33% at $2.67. Year to date, the stock is down almost 2%, while over the last year it is down almost 7%.