Zynga paid $53.3M to buy Words With Friends mobile game maker Newtoy

Tucked away in Zynga‘s initial public offering filing are the amounts that Zynga paid to buy a bunch of game studios in the past year or so. The biggest deal was a $53.3 million purchase of Newtoy, the mobile game maker of the popular Words With Friends app on the iPhone, back in November, 2010.
At the time, Zynga didn’t disclose the amount of the acquisition, but the filing has the data: Zynga paid $44.3 million in cash and $8.9 million in stock. The filing also shows how much Zynga paid for its other deals. But the amount paid for Newtoy — whose Words With Friends game had 12 million mobile downloads at the time — was the biggest acquisition that Zynga has made.
The filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows that Zynga was willing to pay a lot of money to get a foothold in the fast-growing mobile games market. Mobile gaming — the subject of our upcoming GamesBeat 2011 conference — remains a wide-open battleground where Zynga doesn’t have an overwhelming advantage. As mobile games become more social and can display better graphics, the category is expected to see explosive growth, perhaps even becoming bigger than Facebook gaming at some point. But Zynga faces a lot of rivals in the category and it has had to buy a stake in the market to be competitive.
Zynga now has a total of 11 games in the mobile market and its audience has grown about 10-fold since the acquisition of Newtoy, according to the filing. Under Zynga, Newtoy was able to double the daily active users for Words With Friends in the first four months after the acquisition. Zynga has since added a new game, Hanging With Friends, to its mobile offering.
Besides the acquisition of Newtoy, Zynga bought six more companies in 2010. It paid $48.4 million for those companies, including $26.3 million in stock and in $22.1 million cash. In the first quarter, Zynga acquired four more companies for a purchase price of $10.5 million. And from April through June, Zynga bought five more companies for a total price of $10.8 million. That means that Zynga has picked up a total of 12 companies for about $123 million in cash and stock.
Throughout its history, Zynga has acquired a total of 14 companies (including a couple of team hirings). The acquired companies were: XPD in Beijing; Challenge Games in Austin; Unoh Games in Tokyo; Conduit Labs in Boston; Dextrose AG in Frankfurt; Bonfire Studios in Dallas; Newtoy Inc. in McKinney, Texas; Flock team; Area/Code in New York; Floodgate Entertainment in Boston; Market Zero in Texas; Wonderland Software in the United Kingdom; and Sapus Media.

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