The Zynga Juggernaut

Zynga Inc., the online game developer, filed to list its shares on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, under the symbol ZNGA.  By listing on the Nasdaq, the gaming startup bucks a recent trend of young Internet companies listing on the NYSE — a group that includes LinkedIn Corp., Pandora Media Inc. and Renren Inc.    Nasdaq, home to Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., has traditionally had an edge with technology companies.

Founded in 2007, Zynga offers its games for free and then sells virtual items within applications, such as a townhouse in“CityVille” or a shipyard in “Empires & Allies.” Growing substantively, Zynga currently reaches 6.7 million users who on average spend $110 per unique player for the nine months ending in September vs. 5.1 million players who paid on average $105 in the same period a year ago.  (Overall,the worldwide virtual-goods market will more than double to $20.3 billion in 2014, from $9.28 billion last year, according to ThinkEquity LLC, a San Francisco-based research firm).

Zynga reported an 80% rise in quarterly revenue, while net income fell as the online game company invested in staff and technology.  It posted revenue on Friday of $307MM.   Its net income fell 43% to $13MM according to a regulatory filing on Friday.

In October, Zynga also announced a new service, called Project Z, geared toward reducing its dependence on users of Facebook Inc.’s social network. The company also announced new games, including “Zynga Bingo,” “CastleVille” and “Hidden Chronicles.” San Francisco-based Zynga is the biggest developer of games for Facebook.

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