Business

FarmVille maker draws interest from rivals

Zynga has received some approaches in competitive environment

Zynga, the company that created FarmVille and Words With Friends, has attracted takeover interest from other game developers amid a jump in deal making in the industry, people familiar with the matter said.

The San Francisco-based company has received preliminary approaches though no formal talks are taking place at the moment, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private.

A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment.

Zynga operates in the cutthroat world of mobile gaming in which companies often struggle to replicate the runaway success of their early hits. Zynga increasingly competes with larger companies such as Paris-based Ubisoft Entertainment, maker of the Assassin’s Creed games, and Activison Blizzard, which bought Candy Crush developer King Digital Entertainment in 2016.

Rovio Entertainment, which developed the highly successful game Angry Birds, has produced multiple spinoffs in the years since. But CEO Kati Levoranta told investors on a call in August that its flagship game, Angry Birds 2, was overshadowing the performance of some of its other titles.

In August, Zynga scored a multiyear licensing deal with Walt Disney to develop and publish a mobile game based on the Star Wars film franchise. The company’s shares jumped 7.8 percent the day after the announcement, erasing the stock’s losses for the year.

More than one billion people have played games developed by the 11-year-old company, according to its website.

Spending on companies that make entertainment software has more than doubled in the last 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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The biggest so far was slot machine maker Aristocrat Leisure Ltd.’s $990 million bid for Big Fish Games.

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