SAN FRANCISCO ― Zynga Inc. embarks on a road show to promote its initial public offering next Monday, two sources familiar with the matter said, the latest dotcom name to try and whet investors’ appetites.
The social gaming leader behind “FarmVille” follows in the footsteps of recent tech companies to test public markets, including Groupon Inc and Angie’s List. It could be the biggest Internet debut ahead of Facebook’s, which a source said is planning to go public in 2012.
CEO Mark Pincus will lead presentations to investors, along with COO John Schappert and CFO David Wehner, the two people told Reuters.
Zynga spokeswoman Cynthia Saw declined to comment.
Four-year-old Zynga, which filed for an IPO of up to $1 billion on July 1, is one of the most hotly anticipated IPOs in technology. It rose to prominence on the strength of viral games such as “FarmVille” and CityVille.”
The plan is to price its shares on Nasdaq before the New Year under the symbol “ZNGA,” one of these people said. Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia said attention will center on the company’s valuation, estimated at around $14 billion.
That would price Zynga higher than videogame heavyweight Activision Blizzard’s $13.85 billion market capitalization, or Electronic Arts’ $7.2 billion.
Bhatia said the company will need to outline a clear growth strategy during its roadshow to justify that rich price tag.
Some analysts have remarked on Zynga’s heavy reliance on Facebook as the main platform for its games. Facebook takes a 30 percent cut of any revenue earned on the world’s largest social network.
Others point to a track record of profitability.
“Relative to some of the recent IPOs, I would think Zynga will do better,” Bhatia said. “But it will boil down to what the valuation is. The company might be doing well but if the stock price becomes overpriced, that’s the bigger issue.”