Zynga Reports Flat Earnings, Announces Buyback, Shares Surge 14%

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Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA), the embattled game maker, just reported Q3 earnings as the markets closed. As expected non-GAAP earnings were flat, which is down from the EPS of 4 cents earned in the corresponding quarter of 2011 and 1 cent per share in the Q2 2012. The GAAP earnings per share was 7 cents for this quarter. The total revenue for the quarter came in at $317 million. This marks a 3 percent y-o-y increase in revenue. Bookings for the quarter totaled $256 million, which marks a decline of 11 percent y-o-y. The daily active users (DAU) reached 60 million in Q3 2012, up from 54 million in Q3 2011.

Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) slashed its earnings before the actual conference today, and expected the revenue to fall in the range of $300 and 305 million, and expected EPS to be flat or negative. The earnings call also announced 150 lay-offs, which makes up 5 percent of the workforce, and a buyback of $200 million shares. The share price moved up as much as 12 percent in trading after markets closed. Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) is also partnering with Bwin.Party, a British gambling company to launch online money based gambling in the UK. The new poker games are expected to launch in the first half of 2013.

The Q4 EPS forecast was 2-3 cents per share. Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) is hoping to achieve a pre-tax savings from cost cutting in the range of $15-20 million in the upcoming quarter. Total FY2012 bookings are expected to fall in the range of $1.09 -1.1 billion. The FY2012 EBITDA is expected to fall between $152 – $162 million.

Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) derives the bulk of its profits from Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) was not too happy with its performance in its own earnings call. The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, specifically mentioned that while gaming revenue attributable to Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) was down 20 percent, sales from other game providers grew by 40 percent in the past year.

Shares of Zynga are up 14% in after hours trading.

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