Where do things stand with the Zynga IPO? (and a few other thoughts)

While the company hasn’t confirmed any of the whispers, everyone on Wall St. knows the Zynga IPO is coming soon. Zynga-logo

Several news outlets this week postulated the filing could come on Wednesday, but that deadline (like so many before it) came and went. What’s taking so long?

The truth is: It really doesn’t matter when Zynga (the maker of social networking games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars) decides to go public. The longer it waits, the more valuable the stock becomes as anticipation increases and investors who just want to be part of the next big thing shuffle for position in an effort to grab shares before they get ridiculously high.

So what’s the holdup? Paperwork for a public offering is like renovating a kitchen. It always takes longer than expected. And given the interest this filing has generated – even before it happens – everyone involved will want it to be spotless. 

The news reports have been fairly consistent in saying the company hopes to raise between $1.5 and $2 billion with the offering. That would put the company’s valuation at between $15 and $20 billion – more than Take-Two, more than Electronic Arts and even more than Activision-Blizzard.

Is it part of the growing bubble in the tech world? Probably – but Zynga is a company that is well-funded and actually turns a profit, according to reports. It’s also moving its empire beyond Facebook and will likely be a part of Google Plus in the months to come.

The thing investors – and the gaming industry – really need to watch out for is what happens when employees are allowed to sell their shares. Zynga has been on a hiring tear in the video game industry for well over a year – and has wooed a lot of people with some generous stock options. Everyone who has taken that job knew an offering was coming – and with that, a big payday.

It will be interesting to see how many take that payout and go their merry way once that option is available to them. And if they do, will Zynga still be the powerhouse so many investors believe it to be now?

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