Zynga acquires NaturalMotion, cuts 15 percent of workforce

On the back of buying gaming app developer NaturalMotion, the struggling firm is cutting even more employees from the roster.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Zynga is in the middle of a restructuring plan to cut costs and ensure the firm's future survival, and for 15 percent of employees, this means an upcoming pink slip.

The ailing games maker, once high in popularity due to social network-related games including Farmville, has laid off a number of employees in the past few years. Within Zynga's 2013 fourth quarter earnings report on Thursday, the firm said it would cut away a further 15 percent of its workforce as part of a cost reduction plan which aims to save roughly $35 million this year, excluding a $15 - $17 million restructuring charge.

In Q4 2013, Zynga lost $25.2 million -- 3 cents a share -- on revenues of $176.4 million, a decrease of 43.3 percent from Q4 2012.

Since Zynga CEO Don Mattrick took over from the firm's founder Mark Pincus, Zynga has cut away staff, closed down poorly-performing games and sliced at middle management in the hopes of improving efficiency and profit lines.

The latest round of cuts will impact up to 314 employees, adding to a toll of 520 staff last June -- 18 percent of the workforce. The games maker now accounts for roughly 2,000 employees. Mattrick said:

"We don't take these decisions lightly but we believe these actions will allow us to create a clearer, faster path to win. On a personal note, these are extremely difficult but important actions that are helping us drive improved results and create a new foundation for future growth."

While Zynga staff are being chipped away, the company also announced the acquisition of games developer NaturalMotion, of which this firm's staff will swell Zynga's numbers. The buyout of NaturalMotion, a mobile game maker known for "Clumsy Ninja," shows that Zynga is looking to move in to the mobile market rather than rely on social media networks in the future. In a staff email, Mattrick wrote:

"NaturalMotion expands Zynga's creative pipeline, accelerates our mobile growth, and brings next-generation technology and tools to Zynga that will fast-track our ability to deliver consumers more hit games. Combining NaturalMotion's strengths with Zynga's ability to develop breakthrough social features while sustaining live games over time, offers us a huge opportunity to redefine the gaming industry and deliver consumers blockbuster entertainment experiences."

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