Take-Two and Zynga merge in the biggest deal in gaming history

GTA 5 money
(Image credit: Rockstar)

Take-Two and Zynga have merged in what, for the moment, is the biggest corporate deal in gaming history. The stockholders of each company approved all proposals last Thursday, and shares of Zynga ceased trading after market close on Friday. Yesterday Zynga shareholders received $3.50 and 0.0406 Take-Two shares for every share in Zynga, adding up to an enormous $12.7 billion, and the deal is done.

The money involved is eye-watering, though so are the brands involved. Take-Two's most famous asset is the Grand Theft Auto franchise, but it also owns the likes of NBA2K, the WWE games, BioShock, Borderlands, and Civilisation. Zynga is probably still best-known for Farmville and Words with Friends but has a huge slate of successful mobile titles including Golf Rival, the CSR Racing series, and a raft of casino-type games.

On its face this is a merger that makes a lot of sense: Take-Two's great at the 'big' stuff and Zynga's raking it in hand-over-fist in the ever-growing mobile space. Take-Two chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick is of course cock-a-hoop that the deal's gone through.

(Image credit: 2K)

"We are thrilled to complete our combination with Zynga, which is a pivotal step to increase exponentially our Net Bookings from mobile, the fastest-growing segment in interactive entertainment, while also providing us with substantial cost synergies and revenue opportunities," said Zelnick in the company's announcement. "As we bring together our exceptional talent, exciting pipelines of games, and industry-leading technologies and capabilities, we believe that we can take our portfolio to another level of creativity, innovation, and quality."

There are a few mentions of 'strong shareholder value' that I'll spare you, though Zelnick also speaks about the deal in terms of the new company "becoming a leader in mobile games." Grand Theft Auto mobile? Seems like a license to print money. The CEO of Zynga, Frank Gibeau, is similarly chipper.

"We are excited for Zynga’s next-generation mobile platform, free-to-play expertise, diverse offering of games and incredible team to join the Take-Two family," said Gibeau. "We are eager to continue building an unparalleled portfolio of games that will reach broader markets and lead to continued growth for this next chapter of Zynga’s history."

$12.7 billion is an unimaginable sum of money, though it probably won't remain the biggest acquisition in games for very long: Microsoft’s planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion rumbles on, and the most recent development was the Activision Blizzard shareholders voting to approve the deal. That deal still faces some regulatory hoop-jumping, but is widely expected to eventually complete.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."