This is the first major move for Zynga since former Microsoft President of Interactive Entertainment Don Mattrick came on as CEO. But it seems that NaturalMotion, a UK mobile games studio best known for CRS Racing, My Horse, and Clumsy Ninja, will continue to operate normally for now, with CEO Torsten Reil remaining on in some capacity.
"Don's background in AAA games and Zynga's expertise in social game play and large-scale game operations will be invaluable to helping us grow our existing CSR and Clumsy Ninja franchises and maximize the breakout potential of our upcoming titles," Reil said in the announcement.
All told Zynga paid $391 million in cash and about 39.8 million shares for NaturalMotion.
"We believe that bringing Zynga and NaturalMotion together is the right step at the right time," Mattrick said. "Our acquisition of NaturalMotion will allow us to significantly expand our creative pipeline, accelerate our mobile growth and bring next-generation technology and tools to Zynga that we believe will fast track our ability to deliver more hit games."
Zynga has been bleeding money for some time now, while NaturalMotion's fortunes seems to be on the rise, between its popular established franchises and the early success of Clumsy Ninja and its advanced animation and AI technology. It will be interesting to see what the two companies accomplish together.