An 'Exclamation Point' Deal: Analysts Bullish On Zynga After Another M&A Announcement

Mobile video game maker Zynga Inc ZNGA said Thursday it will immediately acquire an 80-percent stake in the Finnish mobile game studio Small Giant Games for $560 million.

The announcement has at least two Street analysts bullish on Zynga's prospects in 2019 and beyond.

The Analysts

Morgan Stanley's Brian Nowak maintains an Overweight rating on Zynga with an unchanged $5 price target.

UBS' Eric Sheridan maintains at Buy with an unchanged $5 price target.

Morgan Stanley: Winning Strategy

Zynga has spent nearly $1 billion on accretive M&A deals over the past 13 months, and the acquisition of the makers of "Empire & Puzzles" has strategic benefits, Nowak said in a Friday note.

Mobile gaming remains not only the fastest-growing gaming segment, but the largest segment — so any action Zynga takes to boost its exposure to mobile is encouraging, the analyst said.

Zynga's acquisition gives it exposure to the global gaming market, as Small Giant Games boasts a homebase in Europe and exposure to Asia, Nowak said. This makes the deal accretive to Zynga's business in terms of operating margin and profit, as it should help improve Zynga's already-strong monetization strategy, he said.

UBS: 'Exclamation Point'

Zynga's latest M&A deal is an "exclamation point" on its vision for 2019 and 2020, which includes investments, growth and the prospect of higher margins, Sheridan said in a note.

The game designer now boasts a "clear narrative" for investors to understand, the analyst said:

  • The turnaround process is nearly finalized.
  • The company is realigned to focus on "forever franchises as live services."
  • New game titles will ramp in 2019 and drive growth.
  • Zynga still has some balance sheet flexibility despite recent buybacks and M&A deals.

The M&A announcement included an upward revision Zynga's fourth-quarter guidance, including revenue and EBITDA, Sheridan said. This "rectified" management's prior Q4 guidance, which came in short of expectations, he said.

Price Action

Zynga shares were up 2.37 percent at $3.68 at the time of publication Friday.

Related Links:

Analysts Weigh In On Zynga After Q3 Earnings Miss

Game On: Zynga Reportedly Emerges As M&A Target?

Photo courtesy of Zynga.

Posted In: Brian NowakEric SheridanMobile GamesMorgan StanleyUBSvideo gamesAnalyst ColorNewsPrice TargetReiterationM&ATop StoriesAnalyst RatingsTech

Ad Disclosure: The rate information is obtained by Bankrate from the listed institutions. Bankrate cannot guaranty the accuracy or availability of any rates shown above. Institutions may have different rates on their own websites than those posted on Bankrate.com. The listings that appear on this page are from companies from which this website receives compensation, which may impact how, where, and in what order products appear. This table does not include all companies or all available products.

All rates are subject to change without notice and may vary depending on location. These quotes are from banks, thrifts, and credit unions, some of whom have paid for a link to their own Web site where you can find additional information. Those with a paid link are our Advertisers. Those without a paid link are listings we obtain to improve the consumer shopping experience and are not Advertisers. To receive the Bankrate.com rate from an Advertiser, please identify yourself as a Bankrate customer. Bank and thrift deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Credit union deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Consumer Satisfaction: Bankrate attempts to verify the accuracy and availability of its Advertisers' terms through its quality assurance process and requires Advertisers to agree to our Terms and Conditions and to adhere to our Quality Control Program. If you believe that you have received an inaccurate quote or are otherwise not satisfied with the services provided to you by the institution you choose, please click here.

Rate collection and criteria: Click here for more information on rate collection and criteria.