Zynga plays it cool as it launches a new California gold rush with IPO
Is it a train? Is it a plane? Is it a bubble? The news today is that FarmVille company Zynga is set to launch an IPO which could value the company at $20 billion - double the estimates of only a few weeks ago
Zynga's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday follows others recently from firms, including Pandora, LinkedIn, Yandex and Demand Media . Their high prices reminded many of the 1990s technology bubble.
The most recent example was Internet radio company Pandora, priced at $16 on June 14. It fell to $12.94 by June 17 on concerns over its profit prospects. Its shares have since come back and were at $20.66 today.
Zynga, in its filings, did not disclose a share price, the number of shares it will offer for sale or when it expects to begin offering its stock.
"Bankers are very aware of the Pandora fiasco and would not like to see a repeat of that," said Nitsan Hargil, senior analyst with GreenCrest Capital Management. "They are likely to price Zynga much more conservatively."
However, he pointed out ,"This is the first one we're seeing where the company has very massive revenue."
Zynga's cash comes from selling virtual goods that can be used in the games. In March it was reported that the company, which has 1300 employees, expected to earn $630 million on $1.8 billion in revenue this year.
Zynga's top games on Facebook are FarmVille and CityVille. About 215 million people play its games monthly but FarmVille players are now in decline. At the beginning of the month Zynga launched Empires & Allies, described as an online version of a toy soldier set, in which people actually perish.