At Zynga's shareholder meeting, a heavy focus on real money gaming

By Richard Nieva , written on June 4, 2013

From The News Desk

Zynga held its annual shareholder meeting today at a hotel in downtown San Francisco. The gathering comes one day after the social gaming company laid off 520 employees -- about 18 percent of its workforce -- to focus on mobile gaming, according to a blog post by CEO Mark Pincus. The company also shuttered offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas. I tried to attend the meeting, though reps from Zynga would not allow me into the room.

One shareholder says today’s meeting was, not surprisingly, heavily focused on real money gaming, which has long been held as a potentially consistent revenue stream for the ailing company. This shareholder, who wished to remain anonymous, said about “80 to 90 percent” of the meeting was focused on the topic.

Not much is expected this year, but more for 2014. “They are taking it nice and slow,” said the shareholder, who bought stock less than a year ago at a low price. He said the company referenced positive preliminary reports in the European market, where the company launched online poker and casino games in April.

After hearing news of yesterday’s bloodletting, he said he is still confident in the company, but offered, “The only thing I’m not confident about is the insiders selling.” Not long after the company's 2011 IPO, Pincus sold $190 million of his own Zynga stock in a secondary offering.

The shareholder said the company was apologetic about the layoffs – Pincus’ blog post certainly shared that tone – and didn’t mention anything about more layoffs in the future.