In its latest attempt to make more of an impact in mobile, social games maker Zynga announced plans to acquire mobile game developer NaturalMotion for $527 million in cash and equity.
Privately-held NaturalMotion describes itself as “one of the fastest growing social mobile publishers on iOS and Android”. Successful titles developed by the company include CSR Racing and Clumsy Ninja.
NaturalMotion was founded in 2001 and has operations in Oxford, London and Brighton in the UK, and in San Francisco in the US. As well as games, it offers tools used to build mobile and console games and has also been used in the production of films.
Announcing the deal in its end of year results, Zynga said it expands its product pipeline into two new gaming segments (racing and people simulation), accelerates its mobile growth and adds cutting edge technology to the company’s portfolio.
Zynga expects NaturalMotion to generate bookings of between $70 million and $80 million in 2014.
Don Mattrick, CEO of Zynga, said the creative portfolio of NaturalMotion “aligns perfectly” with Zynga’s content strategy.
Zynga found huge success in producing games such as Farmville for the Facebook platform, but has struggled to adjust to a consumer shift to mobile gaming.
For the fourth quarter of 2013, the company reported a net loss of $25.2 million with revenue of $176.4 million — significantly lower than the same period in 2012 when revenue was $311.2 million.
For 2013 as a whole, the company made a loss of $37.0 million on revenue of $873.3 million, with revenue again significantly lower than 2012.
In October, Zynga hired former DeNA executive Clive Downie as its chief operating officer. Downie previously oversaw the Mobage West social gaming platform for the US and Europe as well as DeNA’s gaming development division and third-party publishing efforts in these markets.