Zynga's IPO slides toward year's end

Delays often affect valuation.

By InvestorPlace Nov 9, 2011 11:12AM

By Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace Writer


The scheduling of an IPO can be a moving target.  For example, in the case of the Zynga’s offering, it looked like the company would come public during Thanksgiving week. But if this were so, it would be on its "roadshow" now.


Well, it isn't.  In fact, in its most recent IPO filing, the company didn’t even provide a price range (which is a necessity for a roadshow).


According to a report from Bloomberg, the timing of the deal is now for December.


This means there will be little room for error.  Keep in mind that by mid-December, Wall Street is a ghost town and IPOs don’t generally resume again until late January.


Unlike Groupon (GRPN) -- which had to restate its revenue and earnings -- the Zynga filing has been fairly straightforward, as it was with other deals like Pandora (P) and LinkedIn (LNKD).


Unfortunately, delays can hurt the valuation of a deal -- especially in the volatile gaming world.  Last week, Zynga reported its third-quarter results -- and they were problematic.  Profit  plunged 50% over the past year, revenue also continued to decelerate. The quarter-to-quarter growth rate fell to 9.9%, down from 14.9% in the second quarter and 24.1% in the first quarter.


As I pointed out in a recent post for the IPO Playbook, it looks like Zynga's requirement to use Facebook's credit system has been a drag. Plus, it takes a 30% cut from the gross revenue.


Besides, Zynga must deal with some tough competitors. One is Electronic Arts (ERTS), which has seen its "Social Sims" game turn into the No. 2 game on Facebook.


Zynga should be able to get its deal done,  but to entice IPO investors, it may have to be generous on the valuation.


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