Social game monolith Zynga plans to shutter its New York City, Dallas and Los Angeles game development studios. Sources at Zynga confirmed the closures to Engadget, and also confirmed reports of layoffs affecting 520 employees (around 18 percent of the company's total workforce), and now CEO Mark Pincus published his internal letter to employees on the company's website. Apparently the ousted employees will receive, "generous severance packages" for their time; we've published the full letter below the break.
It's unknown how this will impact games and services from those offices, but it is said to cut $80 million from staff costs. The move is part of a larger restructuring at Zynga with a focus on mobile, which Pincus says will make, "mobile gaming truly social by offering people new, fun ways to meet, play and connect." The studio suffered similar closures late last year, which included Boston, UK, and Japan locations.
Update: We've also added Zynga's official press release below.
To our Zynga Community,
Today is a hard day for Zynga and an emotional one for every employee of our company. We are saying painful goodbyes to about 18% of our Zynga brothers and sisters. The impact of these layoffs will be felt across every group in the company.
None of us ever expected to face a day like today, especially when so much of our culture has been about growth. But I think we all know this is necessary to move forward. The scale that served us so well in building and delivering the leading social gaming service on the Web is now making it hard to successfully lead across mobile and multiplatform, which is where social games are going to be played.
These moves, while hard to face today, represent a proactive commitment to our mission of connecting the world through games. Mobile and touch screens are revolutionizing gaming. Our opportunity is to make mobile gaming truly social by offering people new, fun ways to meet, play and connect. By reducing our cost structure today we will offer our teams the runway they need to take risks and develop these breakthrough new social experiences.
Because we're making these moves proactively and from a position of financial strength, we can take care of laid off employees. We're offering generous severance packages that reflect our appreciation for all of their work and we hope this will provide a foundation as they pursue their next professional steps.
Although these are hard decisions, I'm confident that our strategy of building leading franchises and supporting them with the largest network is the right one for the long term. I'm encouraged by our recent progress. Running With Friends is a great example of the quality player experience we can deliver, already receiving an average 4.5 app star rating from 22,700 players in less than one month after launching. Our FarmVille franchise teams continue to innovate and deliver ground breaking new social experiences like County Fair which, despite only being available on the web, is engaging 39 million monthly players.
I want to thank every one of you for the spirit, creativity and energy that you've invested in Zynga. You've reintroduced a generation of people to gaming and through these games offered them new ways to connect with their families, make new friends and even sometimes find love.
Everyone will be affected by these changes and I'm sure there will be many follow up questions to this email. If you have specific questions relating to your project or team, please talk to your manager. For any other feedback or thoughts feel free to email me directly.
ZYNGA ANNOUNCES SUBSTANTIAL COST REDUCTIONS
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – June 3, 2013 – Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA), a leading provider of social game services, today announced substantial cost reductions, including a workforce reduction and closure of various office locations that will result in an estimated $70 million to $80 million in pre-tax annualized cash expense savings.
As part of these initiatives, Zynga expects to complete a reduction in force of approximately 520 employees or approximately 18% of its global workforce. The workforce reduction will occur across all functions and is expected to be substantially complete by August 2013. Zynga will record pre-tax restructuring charges of approximately $24 million to $26 million in the second quarter, and $2 million to $5 million in the third quarter. Zynga also expects to record an estimated $15 million reversal of stock-based expense in the second quarter of 2013 as a result of the net impact of these workforce reductions.
Zynga's updated outlook for the second quarter of 2013 is as follows:
Net loss is projected to be in the range of $39 million to $28.5 million, which is updated to reflect the impact of the actions noted above.
Bookings are projected to be in the lower half of the outlook range provided in our April 24, 2013 first quarter earnings release. While our Farmville Franchise continues to perform well, other games are underperforming.
Zynga re-affirms the second quarter 2013 outlook provided on April 24, 2013 for Revenue, EPS, Adjusted EBITDA and Non-GAAP EPS.
Zynga also re-affirms the full year 2013 outlook provided on April 24, 2013 for Adjusted EBITDA margin.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
A discussion of non-GAAP financial measures and reconciliations of second quarter 2013 outlook non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measures are provided in our April 24, 2013 first quarter earnings release. Non-GAAP financial measures are not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the financial information prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP").
About Zynga Inc.
Zynga Inc. (ZNGA) is a leading provider of social game services with approximately 250 million monthly active users playing its games, which include Zynga Poker, Words With Friends, Scramble With Friends, Gems With Friends, Draw Something, FarmVille 2, ChefVille, CityVille, Bubble Safari and Ruby Blast. Zynga's games are available on a number of global platforms, including Facebook, Zynga.com, Apple iOS and Google Android. Zynga is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Learn more about Zynga at http://blog.zynga.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
This press release contains forward-looking statements relating to, among other things, our outlook for second quarter 2013 revenue, net loss, EPS, bookings, Adjusted EBITDA, and non-GAAP EPS; our outlook for full year 2013 Adjusted EBITDA margin; our estimated cost reduction plans and proposed reduction in force; our estimated pre-tax savings, pre-tax restructuring charges and estimated reduction of stock-based expense, and the timing for such estimated savings, charges and expense reductions; our proposed non-headcount cost reductions; and our future operational and strategic plans.
Forward-looking statements often include words such as "outlook," "projected," "intends," "will," "anticipate," "believe," "target," "expect," and statements in the future tense are generally forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including those described in "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the full year ended December 31, 2012, copies of which may be obtained by visiting our Investor Relations web site at http://investor.zynga.com or the SEC's web site at www.sec.gov. Our actual results could differ materially from those predicted or implied, and reported results should not be considered as an indication of our future performance. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, our relationship with Facebook or changes in the Facebook platform, our ability to maintain significant bookings for franchise games, despite increasing decay rates for games generally, our ability to control and reduce expenses, disruptions in our business and bookings expectations as a result of the restructuring, our exposure to illegitimate credit card activity in Zynga Poker, acquisitions by us and changes in corporate strategy or management.
Undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking statements in this release, which are based on information available to us on the date hereof. There is no guarantee that the circumstances described in our forward-looking statements will occur. We assume no obligation to update such statements.
Disclosure Using Social Media Channels
Zynga announces material information to its investors using SEC filings, press releases, public conference calls, webcasts and social media channels. Zynga encourages investors, the media, players and others interested in Zynga to review the information posted on the company blog (http://zyngablog.typepad.com/zynga/), the company Facebook site (https://facebook.com/Zynga) and the company twitter account (https://twitter.com/Zynga). Investors, the media, players or other interested parties can subscribe to the company blog and twitter feed at the addresses listed above. Any updates to the list of social media channels Zynga will use to announce material information will be posted on the Investor Relations page of the company's website at http://investor.zynga.com