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Grand Theft Auto in Farmville after $12.7B gaming deal

By The Associated Press
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Take-Two Interactive, maker of “Grand Theft Auto” and “Red Dead Redemption,” is buying Zynga, maker of “FarmVille” and “Words With Friends,” in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $12.7 billion.

The acquisition announced Monday would wed a powerhouse in console gaming, Take-Two, with a mobile gaming company with an almost cult-like following.

Zynga shareholders will receive $3.50 in cash and $6.36 in shares of Take-Two common stock for each share of Zynga outstanding stock at closing. The transaction is valued at $9.86 per share of Zynga common stock.

“This strategic combination brings together our best-in-class console and PC franchises, with a market-leading, diversified mobile publishing platform that has a rich history of innovation and creativity," Take-Two Chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick said in a prepared statement. He will retain those roles when the companies become one.

Take-Two anticipates the deal will help bring about mobile versions of some of its console and personal computer based games.

Take-Two said Monday it anticipates approximately $100 million in annual cost savings within the first two years after the transaction is complete.

Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau and its president of publishing, Bernard Kim, will oversee the integration and day-to-day operations of the combined Zynga and T2 Mobile Games business, which will operate under the Zynga brand as its own label within the Take-Two.

Take-Two will also expand its board to 10 members upon closing, adding two members from Zynga’s board.

The transaction includes a go-shop provision, giving Zynga 45 days to hear alternative proposals.

The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of Take-Two’s fiscal 2023, ending June 30. It still needs approval of both Take-Two and Zynga stockholders. It has received approval from both companies' boards.

Shares of Zynga Inc., based in San Francisco, jumped 52.5% to $9.15. Shares of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., based in New York City, fell 8.7% to $150.25.

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