Zynga acquires NaturalMotion for $527m, cuts staff by more than 300

Zynga has announced the $527m purchase of UK/US-based studio, NaturalMotion.

The developer is known for developing titles CSR Racing and Backbreaker Football, as well as specializing in creating animation technology for both the game and film industries.

Our acquisition of NaturalMotion will allow us to significantly expand our creative pipeline, accelerate our mobile growth and bring next-generation technology and tools to Zynga that we believe will fast track our ability to deliver more hit games,” Zynga CEO Don Mattrick said.

Their creative portfolio aligns perfectly with our content strategy as Zynga will now have five top brands and capabilities in the Farm, Casino, Words, Racing and People categories.”

Don’s background in AAA games and Zynga’s expertise in social game play and large-scale game operations will be invaluable to helping us grow our existing CSR and Clumsy Ninja franchises and maximize the breakout potential of our upcoming titles,” NaturalMotion CEO Torsten Reil said.

We’ve reached our first milestones – creating #1 top-grossing and top-free titles – on our own. We can’t wait to see what we can achieve together with Zynga.”

The acquistion is the social gaming company’s biggest to date, dwarfing the now infamous OMGPOP purchase of $200m.

The news comes alongside an early arriving financial report for Zynga, included in which was word of a significant reduction in workforce. The company confirmed 314 staff had recently been let go, a 15 per cent reduction to its workforce. The move is expected to net Zynga $35m in 2014.

As for Zynga’s financial performance in its most recent quarter ending on December 31st, the firm posted GAAP revenue of $176m – down from the $311m pulled in during the same quarter in 2012. The dip resulted in a net loss of $25m.

For 2013 in general, Zynga earned $873m in GAAP revenue – once again down from 2012’s $1.2bn. On the bright side, losses for the year were reduced. The company ended 2013 with a net loss of $36m, compared to $209m in losses last year.

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