Take-Two, owner of Borderlands publisher 2K and Grand Theft Auto maker Rockstar, has announced it will purchase mobile games giant Zynga for around $12.7bn – making it the most expensive video games acquisition of all time.
Best known for its ever-popular Farmville, Words with Friends and CSR Racing franchises, Zynga will now become part of the Take-Two empire, though continue to make games under its own brand name.
Zynga’s other big success stories include Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, Merge Dragons! and Zynga Poker.
With Zynga tucked inside its trousers, Take-Two said it would become “one of the largest publicly-traded interactive entertainment companies in the world”.
Take-Two’s plan is to leverage Zynga’s development skills to create mobile games based around existing IP. As well as Borderlands and GTA, Take-Two also oversees NBA 2K, Red Dead Redemption, BioShock and Mafia.
At the same time, Take-Two said it was also keen to use Zynga’s knowledge of mobile gaming to “drive free-to-play synchronous cross-platform ambitions” in products from its existing internal studios.
“Combining Zynga’s expertise in mobile and next-generation platforms with Take-Two’s best-in-class capabilities and intellectual property will enable us to further advance our mission to connect the world through games while achieving significant growth and synergies together,” Zynga boss Frank Gibeau said.
As developer Simon Roth pointed out, the deal will also include all the Natural Motion animation technology, previously used to great effect in Rockstar games like GTA4 and Red Dead Redemption.
It also includes all the Natural Motion animation tech that’s been sat unused for over half a decade.
Take Two (Rockstar) was our biggest license when I was there. https://t.co/xNwsTWT9p7
— Simon Roth (@SimoRoth) January 10, 2022
Finally, if it needed to be said, good lord $12.7bn is an eye-opening amount of money. For comparison, Activision paid $5.9bn for Candy Crush company King in 2015, while Microsoft splashed out $7.5bn for Bethesda owner Zenimax Software and all of its studios in 2020. The only deal that comes close to today’s is Chinese megacorp Tencent’s $10.2bn purchase of Clash of Clans and Clash Royale maker Supercell back in 2016.
Take Two most recently hit the headlines for slapping Josef Fares’ It Takes Two with a trademark claim, meaning the acclaimed puzzle game about a pair of divorcing parents had to give up the rights to its own title.