July 1, 2011, 3:38 PM

FarmVille game developer Zynga hopes to harvest $1 billion from its IPO

The company develops games played by Facebook members.

Lead Photo

Social gaming provider Zynga Inc. today filed for an initial public offering, hoping to raise up to $1 billion.

Zynga, which makes FarmVille and other games played by Facebook members, says that it had revenue in the first quarter of 2011 of $235.4 million, up 133% from $100.9 million a year earlier. Net income in the first quarter increased to $11.8 million, up 84% from $6.4 million for the same period in 2010. Zynga says it has 232 million monthly active users.

Zynga did not say how many shares it intends to sell. The IPO comes amid public offerings from the likes of Groupon, the leading daily deal provider, LinkedIn, a social network for professionals, and Pandora, a streaming music service. Zynga says it will use the money it raises for working capital, game development, marketing activities and capital expenditures.

The IPO filing drives home how much Zynga, which launched in 2007, depends on Facebook. “Facebook is the primary distribution, marketing, promotion and payment platform for our games. We generate substantially all of our revenue and players through the Facebook platform and expect to continue to do so for the foreseeable future,” the filing states.

Zynga also says that most of its revenue comes from a small percentage of players. “Our growth depends on our ability to consistently launch new games that achieve significant popularity. Each of our games requires significant engineering, marketing and other resources to develop, launch and sustain via regular upgrades and expansions, and such costs on average have increased,” the filing says.

The filing also outlines the competitive pressures faced by Zynga, which notes the relatively low barrier to entry for social gaming companies, whether new games come from giants such as The Walt Disney Co., No. 74 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide or smaller firms. “High-profile companies with significant online presences that to date have not developed social games, such as Amazon.com, No 1. in the Top 500 Guide, Facebook, Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! Inc., may decide to develop social games,” Zynga says.

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