Zynga Inc., the online game company, posted second-quarter results at the low end of its forecast and cut its full-year outlook after deciding to delay new games, including poker and Words With Friends. The stock fell.
Zynga broke even in the period, excluding items, according to a statement today from the San Francisco-based company. That compared with an April forecast of break even to profit of 1 cent a share. Bookings, the value of virtual goods sold during the quarter, fell 6.7 percent to $175.1 million, hitting the low end of an April forecast that ranged up to $195 million.
The company, once the leader in casual play with titles such as FarmVille, is buying sports and other rights. It introduced NFL Showdown today and plans products with Tiger Woods and Looney Tunes. At the same time, Chief Executive Officer Don Mattrick is delaying some titles to the second half of 2014 and next year for additional work as Zynga transitions to more mobile play from online.
“I feel like we’re making progress” Mattrick, who’s led the company for a year, said in a telephone interview. “We’re doing the heavy lifting right now, and the heavy lifting is investment and being disciplined and finding the right balance of shift dates.”
Zynga fell 8.2 percent to $2.68 and was as low as $2.49 in extended trading after the announcement. The shares have declined 23 percent this year.
“The bookings were certainly lighter than expected, as well as the outlook,” said James Cakmak, an analyst with Telsey Advisory Group in New York, which doesn’t rate stocks.
Revenue for the quarter totaled $153.2 million, down from $230.7 million a year earlier and shy of the $157.1 million average of 16 analysts’ estimates. The company’s mobile bookings surpassed Web bookings for the first time.
The net loss widened to $62.5 million from $15.8 million a year earlier, Zynga said, while daily active users shrank to 29 million in the second quarter from 39 million a year earlier.
With the game delays and new investments, Zynga forecasts 2014 bookings of $695 million to $725 million, down from as much as $810 million projected in April. The company projects profit, or adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, of $40 million to $60 million, down from as much as $100 million previously.
Full-year earnings per share will range from a loss of 1 cent to break even, the company said, compared with a forecast for profit of up to 3 cents.
For the current quarter, Zynga projects sales of $160 million to $170 million, and roughly break even per share excluding items.
Zynga said today it’s entering the sports category after obtaining licenses from the National Football League and Tiger Woods. The NFL game was released on a limited basis today, and the Tiger Woods game may be available in 2015. Zynga also signed a deal with Warner Bros. to create a Looney Tunes game that will be introduced before the holiday season, the company said.
Mattrick has been hiring to revitalize Zynga’s products and marketing. The team is restructuring the company’s offerings as its well-known FarmVille, Zynga Poker and Words With Friends games face competition from new products such as Glu Mobile Inc.’s Kim Kardashian: Hollywood mobile game and King Digital Entertainment Plc’s Candy Crush titles.
“We’re at a time of transition and we’re being purposeful about making good choices,” Mattrick said.
(Zynga plans a conference call at 5 p.m. New York time. Listen at http://investor.zynga.com)