Zynga picks up Wild Needle in $3.8 million talent deal


By Kathleen De Vere Comment

Zynga’s latest mobile acquisition appears to be an estimated $3.8 million deal for San Francisco-based mobile-social game company Wild Needle, according to TechCrunch.

Reportedly a talent deal, Wild Needle is the latest in a long series of relatively low priced mobile buys from Zynga. The company’s largest mobile acquisitions to date have been Draw Something maker OMGPOP for $180 million, and original Words With Friends creator Newtoy, which sold for $53.3 million in late 2010. The Wild Needle deal isn’t surprising, given recent statements from Zynga CEO Mark Pincus making it clear the company is actively on the lookout for acquisition prospects.

Although a Zynga spokesperson declined to comment on the purchase, the Wild Needle deal appears to have been finalized in late April or early May. Wild Needle shut down its first and only iOS game, casual commerce sim Shoptown Hero on April 25 and the LinkedIn profiles of some Wild Needle employees indicate they have been working at Zynga since May. The company’s official website, www.wildneedle.com has also been taken down.  Before the acquisition Wild Needle had raised $2.5 million in Series A funding from Playdom’s Rick Thompson and Shasta Ventures.

If the $3.8 million reports are accurate, the Wild Needle deal is right in line with Zynga’s typical acquisition spend. According to the company’s IPO filings, Zynga spent $40.6 million on acquisitions in the first nine months of 2011. Some of the mobile pickups among those 13 companies were Toronto’s Five Mobile, New York’s Astro Ape Studios, San Francisco’s Page44 Studios and Germany’s GameDoctors.