Zynga bookings beat estimates as turnaround takes hold

(Reuters) – Zynga Inc on Wednesday forecast quarterly bookings above analysts’ estimates after beating expectations for the fourth quarter, suggesting that the game developer was benefiting from its mobile push.

FILE PHOTO – The Zynga logo is pictured at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, California April 23, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/File Photo

The company had once thrived on the popularity of its Facebook-based “Farmville” game, but hit a rough patch after gamers ditched their desktops for mobile phones.

As part of its mobile-focused strategy, Zynga has snapped up several smaller game makers including Gram Games and the card and board games studio of Peak Games.

“We are no longer looking at fixing things, we are now focused on growing things,” Chief Executive Officer Frank Gibeau told Reuters.

Mobile contributed nearly 93 percent to Zynga’s bookings of $267 million, well above analysts’ estimates of $259.3 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company said it expects first-quarter bookings of $325 million, while analysts were expecting $301.4 million.

Bookings are an important measure of future revenue for companies such as Zynga, which sell virtual goods such as lives and currency as part of its smartphone gaming apps.

Gibeau said the company’s games were expected to get a boost from the emergence of 5G and proliferation of cheaper Chinese smartphones.

Zynga’s average daily active users were 22 million, up 4 percent from a year earlier.

The company reported a profit of $0.6 million, or breakeven per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with $12.9 million, or 1 cent per share, a year earlier.

“Zynga’s turnaround is now complete,” Gibeau said in a statement.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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