After dominating the social gaming space for the last few years, Zynga has been in trouble lately and this week has been particularly bad. The company’s stock plummeted early in the week, falling a devastating 41% to a low of $2.99, though it has since rebounded slightly. The fact that a young company has some inconsistent performance isn’t that news worthy, but the fact that several of the companies largest investors, including founder Marc Pincus recently cashed out huge amounts of Zynga stock to the tune of $516 million is.
According to Yahoo Finance, in April which is the same quarter the company’s weak earnings caused the stock to plummet, Zynga held what is known as a “secondary stock offering.” This offering consisted solely of stock owned by Zynga executives and large investment houses. In total, they sold off 43 million shares at $12 a share, that’s damn good considering that those same shares are now trading right around $3. Pincus himself sold 16.5 million shares for over $200 million, CFO David Wehner sold 386,000 for $4.6 million, and former EA and Microsoft exec and current Zynga COO John Schappert sold 322,000 shares for $3.9 million. At this point, there is no evidence of any kind of wrongdoing, though it certainly appears that something could be going on. When you have that many company insiders moving that much stock, its bound to raise flags and I’m sure that the FTC and others will be looking into this just to make sure no laws were broken.
We’ll keep you up to date as this story develops.