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The deal that never was: Xbox chief reportedly tried to buy Zynga while at Microsoft

While at Microsoft, Don Mattrick reportedly tried to buy Zynga — the company he now runs.


Don Mattrick today takes the top spot at Zynga, the social gaming company that he reportedly tried to buy while running Microsoft’s entertainment division.

Bloomberg reports that in 2010 Mattrick was negotiating with Zynga’s founder, Mark Pincus, about buying Zynga in order to bolster Xbox’s social games lineup. At the time, Zynga looked to be an unstoppable juggernaut in the Facebook games industrial complex and adding the 80 million user strong Farmville to Microsoft’s mix would have been a smart strategic acquisition.

Since then the air has rapidly come out of the Zynga bubble: The company recently lost the top spot on the Facebook games roster, it can’t seem to retain talent and its stock has dropped by 66 percent since its initial public offering. It’s far from the app-hegemon it once was.

To add to the complexity, the leviathan of Zynga’s share structure give former CEO Mark Pincus last say over everything — as he has the single largest block of shares — even though he has left the company.

According to a filing by Zynga, Mattrick will receive a $5 million signing bonus, $1 million salary, $25 million in restricted stock vesting over three years, and additional shares as well as options worth $15 million.

Source: Bloomberg

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