MediaFile

Google buys into Zynga – report

zynga-pokerGoogle has invested as much as $200 million in social gaming company Zynga, as it looks to bolster its presence in the world of online gaming, according to technology blog TechCrunch.

According to TechCrunch, the investment may have been in conjunction with Softbank Capital’s deal to purchase a stake in Zynga, which makes games for social networks including Facebook and MySpace and profits by selling virtual goods.  In June, Nikkei reported that Softbank bought a stake in Zynga for about 13.5 billion yen ($147.4 million) through a private placement.

The site said that The investment was made by Google itself, not Google Ventures and that Zynga will be “the cornerstone of a new Google Games to launch later this year.” Zynga’s revenues for the first half of 2010 will be $350 million, half of which is operating profit, and is projecting at least $1.0 billion in revenue in 2011, according to the site.

Facebook nearing $1 billion revenue run rate, Zynga revenue triples

Everybody knows social media firms are growing like gangbusters. Facebook, for instance, recently surpassed 350 million users, 16 months after reaching 100 million users.

How much money the Web start-ups are making is less clear — though industry-watchers were treated to a few tantalizing revelations this week.

Facebook is within striking distance of a $1 billion annual revenue run rate, according to TBI Research analyst Rory Maher.

Soccer clubs and mortgages: How a media mogul spends $10 million

Unlike many of us, media executives know what it’s like to play around with large wads of cash. So it seemed natural to ask them about what kind of investment opportunities they’re seeing when they gathered in New York this week for the Reuters Global Media Summit.

We gave each media honcho $10 million in hypothetical cash and told them to put the money to work without buying stock in their own companies.

Diller11Some executives plowed the money into broad sectors and regions, like emerging markets, while others zeroed in on specific stocks, like Electronic Arts’ CEO John Riccitiello’s penchant for software maker Adobe.

from Summit Notebook:

Zynga CEO: Half of social web users will be social gamers

Don’t ask Zynga’s Mark Pincus how much money his company is making.

The founder of the hot social gaming company, which is operating at a more than $200 million yearly run rate according to sources familiar with the matter, said sharing such information would contribute to the kind of hype that would be bad for the nascent industry.

“I just hope that we can all partner to try to get the story out in a balanced way, so that the media doesn’t necessarily have to go back and forth, ‘This is the next great coming,’ and hyping it, and then two or three months later, ‘Oh they didn’t deliver on these very high expectations that we’ve all put out there,’” Pincus said in a conversation with reporters at the Reuters Media Summit.

He noted that Zynga, whose games include FarmVille and Mafia Wars, has been profitable for eight quarters and sees no reason to raise capital in a public stock offering anytime soon.

Web 2.0: Ning does Virtual Gifts and Demand Media does healthcare

With the Web 2.0 conference about to kick off in San Francisco, Internet start-ups are unveiling new products and tossing out crumbs of data about their businesses intended to illustrate how fast they’re growing.

Social-networking firm Ning led the charge on Tuesday with the news that it has grown 300 percent year-over-year to 36 million registered users and that it is jumping on the virtual goods bandwagon.

The company said it will begin selling virtual goods across the 1.6 million specialized social networks that exist on Ning for $1.50 per gift. The company said it will split 50 percent of the revenue with the Ning network creators who offer the goods on their respective networks.

from DealZone:

Stirrings from Silicon Valley

As centers of innovation go, there are worse places to place a bet on the past repeating itself than California's technology hub. Looking beyond the Internet, housing and credit bubbles, it's still the preferred playground of such leading financial weathervanes as venture capitalists, gizmo nerds and software studs.

Perhaps Wall Street, searching for reasons to remain optimistic about the market's summer rally, should take heart from the spate of articles painting pictures of green shoots all over Silicon Valley. The Wall Street Journal's Deal Journal notes that tech IPOs are staging a comeback, and asks if its time to party like it's 1999?

Our reporting shows that investors, encouraged by a growing number of acquisitions and public stock flotations in the past few months, are keeping a close eye on a coterie of promising startups in Silicon Valley. David Lawsky identified six privately held companies as the ripest for acquisition or readiness to go public, out of 34 cited in industries ranging from alternative energy to social networking.