Zynga shares jumped almost 17 percent today after Facebook’s IPO filing yesterday revealed that the social network’s payments revenue climbed 20 percent quarter-over-quarter by year-end — suggesting Zynga might see a comparable boost in its own bottom line. Facebook added that the social game developer contributes 12 percent of its 2011 revenues.
At market close yesterday, Zynga was trading at $10.96 per share — slightly higher than the $10 price they debuted at in December‘s IPO. They opened today at $11.05 and peaked at $12.81 in just a little over an hour. By close, Zynga’s market capitalization was up 12 percent to $8.66 billion from $7.4 billion yesterday. Zynga’s Facebook traffic is also on the rise — up 1.9 million daily active users and 6.4 million monthly active users in the last seven days as recorded by our AppData traffic tracking service.
Zynga won’t share its fourth quarter earnings until Feb. 14, but that hasn’t stopped analysts from speculating that the company may report higher bookings for the quarter. If Facebook’s payments revenues went up 20 percent, Zynga might see a comparable rise. Facebook said its payments revenue rose to $188 million in the fourth quarter from $156 million in the previous one, suggesting that its platform may be doing a better job at converting gamers into paying for virtual goods.
In a research note republished on AllThingsD, Baird Equity Research analyst Colin Sebastian estimates that Zynga’s net bookings may have been $315 million in the fourth quarter.
Sebastian’s estimate is rough. Since Facebook reported $1.13 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter and Zynga contributes a 12 percent of that, Zynga may have contributed $135 million to the social network’s earnings. Baird believes 75 to 80 percent, or $101 to $108 million of that, is from virtual goods sales. If that $101 to 108 million is the 30 percent revenue share Zynga must give to Facebook, then the social gaming company keeps $235 to $250 million. Sebastian adds that an additional $65 million may have come from other platforms like iOS, Android and Google+.
Other gaming companies like Gameloft and Capcom have said this week that their mobile revenues ranged from $25.4 million to $52.6 million for the holiday quarter. That suggests that Zynga might easily have a $100 to $200 million-a-year mobile gaming business because it has similarly ranked games.
With Facebook delivering 93 percent of Zynga’s revenues, the two company’s futures are intertwined until at least 2015, when a five-year deal between the two expires. Zynga has taken steps to mitigate the risk of relying completely on Facebook by expanding into mobile and international markets.
Facebook, meanwhile, is trying to forge a stronger, more compelling games platform with improved discovery to offset rising costs to developers on its platform. Through Credits, Facebook takes a 30 percent cut of all in-game transactions. On top of that, social game developers are also a large source of advertising revenue for the company.