Zynga Acquires Mobile Developer Gram Games in $250M Deal

Zynga Acquires Mobile Developer Gram Games in $250M Deal

Zynga Games has acquired UK mobile-games developer Gram Games in a deal worth at least a quarter of a billion dollars.

Prominent social-gaming developer Zynga returned to acquisition mode this week with the pickup of Gran Games, an emerging maker of “hyper-casual” (easy to play) and puzzle offerings. The total deal begins with $250m (about €213.8m) in cash, with Gram Games also receiving a three-year earnout based on the future success of its titles.

Gram Games is based in London, England, and has issued nine easy-to-play titles since its founding back in 2012. The 77-employee company is responsible for recent hits such as Merge Dragons! and 1010! and has several more easy-to-play titles in development, a factor Zynga cited as part of the deal’s justification.

According to a Zynga corporate announcement, “This acquisition brings to Zynga a talented team with a proven track record of developing highly engaging mobile games across multiple genres played by millions of people daily. Zynga expects its acquisition of Gram Games will be an additional catalyst to its growth and delivery of its long-term profitability targets.”

The pickup of the Gram Games titles and development team strengthens Zynga’s prominent role among developers of casual-play titles aimed at mobile users. Zynga is famed for such offerings as Words With Friends and Farmville and is always searching for that next hit game.

Titles add users, flair

Zynga brass cited the unique flavor of Gram Games’ offerings as an added benefit of the deal. Gram, which at present has studios in London and Istanbul, cracked the US Apple App Store’s charts of the “Top 50 Grossing Games” with its Merge Dragons! title, which was released in 2017.

The deal also brings more than three million active daily mobile users into the Zynga fold, referring to Gram Games players who aren’t already dedicated followers of the company’s other casual-play titles.

“We’ve been impressed by the unique culture that Gram Games has created, as well as their innovative approach to game making,” said Frank Gibeau, Zynga CEO. “By acquiring Gram Games, we’re expanding our portfolio of live game franchises while also adding a number of exciting new starts to our pipeline of future games. In particular, we’re huge fans of Merge Dragons! and believe it has the potential to be a new forever franchise for Zynga.”

“We are proud to join Zynga and combine Gram Games’ unique culture, talented team and hit games with Zynga’s world-class organization,” said Mehmet Ecevit, Gram Games CEO. “We believe deeply in Zynga’s mission to connect the world through games and are excited to work with Frank and the rest of the Zynga team on our next phase of growth.”

“Gram Games helped define the hyper-casual genre with games like 1010! and Six!, and we continued to grow our footprint with Merge Dragons!” said Kaan Karamanci, co-founder of Gram Games. “We look forward to marrying our unique approach to game making with Zynga’s live services expertise to grow our games and continue to delight millions of players around the world.”

Small downtick for expected earnings

The Gram Games expenditure will result in slightly reduced profits for Zynga in the second quarter of 2018, according to a brief analysis offered with the announcement. However, according to the San Francisco-based firm, Zynga does not expect any significant revenue impact from Gram Games in the short term.

Zynga will also use its own in-house development power to boost those future, yet-to-be-announced, Gram titles. Zynga cites its own live-services muscles and “Studio Operations and Publishing organization expertise” as reasoning for the why and how of bringing added marketing muscle to Gram’s present and future titles.