Zynga to acquire Small Giant Games, the maker of Empires & Puzzles, for $700M

Social game developer Zynga will initially acquire 80 percent of Small Giant Games for $560 million.

Social game developer Zynga has entered into an agreement to acquire Small Giant Games, the startup behind the popular mobile game Empires & Puzzles, in a deal expected to total $700 million.

Zynga, which has tumbled since its 2011 Nasdaq initial public offering, will initially acquire 80 percent of Small Giant Games for $560 million, composed of $330 million in cash and $230 million of unregistered Zynga common stock. Zynga will fund part of the transaction with a $200 million credit facility.

“We’ve been impressed by the quality and momentum of Empires & Puzzles as we add another Forever Franchise into Zynga’s portfolio,” Zynga chief executive officer Frank Gibeau said in a statement. “Small Giant has created an innovative game that delivers a unique player experience that engages over the long term.”

The deal is expected to close on January 1. Zynga will purchase the remaining 20 percent of Small Giant over the next three years “at valuations based on specified profitability goals.”

Helsinki-based Small Giant Games had raised $52 million in equity funding from EQT Ventures, Creandum, Spintop Ventures, Profounders and others since it was founded in 2013. The company reported $33 million of revenue for Empires & Puzzles, its most popular game, 10 months after its launch in 2017. Small Giant, which is also behind Alliance Wars and Season 2: Atlantis, says they exceeded 2017’s revenue just four months into 2018.

“Our studio was founded on the idea that small, skillful teams can accomplish giant things, and I am confident that partnering with Zynga is the right next step in our evolution,” Small Giant CEO Timo Soininen said in a statement. “We will now operate as a separate studio within Zynga, maintaining our identity, culture and creative independence. By leveraging the expertise and support from the wider Zynga team, we will amplify the reach of Empires & Puzzles and the new games in our development pipeline.”

Zynga, founded in 2007, is the developer of FarmVille, Zynga Poker, Words with Friends and several other mobile games. The company reported revenues of $248.88 million for the quarter ended September 2018, failing to meet analyst estimates.

Zynga expects to bring in $243 million in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Argent, a smart crypto wallet app with a banking look, raises $4M from Euro VCs

One of the biggest problems for the mainstream adoption of crypto is the need for memorizing seed phrases, the inability to get your cryptocurrency back if something goes wrong, the list goes on. Until major issue like this are solved, crypto is going to remain a pretty elite game. Argent is a project which recently […]

One of the biggest problems for the mainstream adoption of crypto is the need for memorizing seed phrases, the inability to get your cryptocurrency back if something goes wrong, the list goes on. Until major issue like this are solved, crypto is going to remain a pretty elite game.

Argent is a project which recently won the prestigious inaugural user experience prize at Devcon4 by addressing many of these issues.

It’s a crypto wallet that lets you also port your ID around (much like a Google or Facebook Login) and solves the UX problem through clever smart contract architecture.. So you have a good old-fashioned and familiar Web 2.0 / centralized experience in a decentralized environment.

Argent has now raised a $4 million seed round from some of Europe’s leading investors, including Index Ventures, Creandum, firstminute, Hummingbird and Atomico Partner Mattias Ljungman.

As a native app on the Apple App and Google Play Stores, describes itself as the first smart wallet. The presentation and security is that of a modern banking apps, but Argent doesn’t hold or access a user’s funds. The smart wallet also provides access to decentralized applications, with the user staying in control of their data, identity and assets.

Argent CEO and co-founder, Itamar Lesuisse, commented: “The web is dominated by monopolies and middlemen. Cambridge Analytica and Equifax highlighted the damage this was doing to people. The emerging decentralized web offers a better way – with people controlling their data, assets, and identity. But it is still way too hard for most people to use, so adoption is slow. We founded Argent to fix this”.

Dr. Julien Niset, Chief Science Officer and co-founder, Argent, says, “The challenge we set ourselves was to offer the usability and security of great banking apps, but without the bank. We wanted the user, not us, to be in control. We’ve achieved this by building Argent on smart contracts, code embedded in the blockchain that cannot be tampered with. Our smart contracts let users, for the first time, recover their wallets without a paper backup, set daily transaction limits and block fraudulent transactions. This makes Argent safer and easier to use than other wallets”.

Consumers can use the smart wallet to access decentralized applications and no technical knowledge is required. To generate more adoption, Argent plans to make a developer kit available to third parties. It already has an integrated exchange and Argent says it is currently exploring more partnerships in finance, as well as gaming.

Two of Argent’s co-founders, Itamar Lesuisse (ex-Amazon, Visa and BCG) and Gerald Goldstein (PhD, nuclear physics), previously founded Peak, the world’s largest brain training app (50m downloads), and an Apple and Android App of the Year. The third co-founder, Julien Niset, has a PhD in quantum information, founded a quantum security startup and successfully sold the IP to the world’s leading quantum security company.

Bjarke Staun-Olsen, Creandum, says, “Having backed Itamar and Gerald’s previous startup, Peak, which successfully exited in 2016, we knew how strong their ability to execute in consumer mobile was. And as they were combining with Julien’s expertise in cryptography, we knew this was the right team to drive consumer adoption at scale”.

Ari Helgason, Index Ventures, says, “Argent has developed a critical piece of infrastructure that paves the way for mainstream adoption of blockchain applications. The team’s technology breakthrough allows users to overcome the tradeoff between security and ease of use that has characterized wallets until now.”