Zynga Posts Solid Earnings Amidst CFO Departure

Zynga, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) reported its third quarter financial results after the markets closed on Tuesday. The company had no earnings per share (EPS) on $196 million in revenue compared to consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that called for a net loss of $0.01 per share on $169.94 million in revenue. The same period from the previous year had a net loss of $0.01 per share on $175.49 million in revenue.

The company announced that its bookings totaled $176 million—above the high end of the guidance range but flat year over year and up 1% sequentially. As for mobile bookings, they totaled $121 million or 69% of overall bookings, up 26% from last year and up 6% sequentially.

The board of directors authorized a share repurchase program of up to $200 million of outstanding Class A common stock that will remain in effect until October 2017. Note that this company only has a market cap of about $2.3 billion, so this repurchase plan is for roughly 10% of outstanding shares.

Zynga’s CFO David Lee is also resigning, effective immediately and the board of directors is commencing a search for a new chief after appointing Michelle Quejado to hold the position in the interim.

Average daily active users (DAU) totaled 19 million, down 21% from last year and 9% sequentially, while average monthly active users (MAU) totaled 75 million, down 27% from the same period in the previous year and down 9% sequentially.

In terms of guidance, Zynga expects a fourth quarter net loss per share in the range of $0.08 to $0.06 and revenue to be in the range of $170 million to $185 million. There are consensus estimates of no earnings per share on $191.79 million in revenue.

Mark Pincus, CEO and Founder of Zynga, commented on earnings:

Our teams delivered a strong Q3 driven by the performance by Wizard of Oz Slots, Words With Friends and our newly launched Empires & Allies. We generated $176 million in total bookings and $12 million in Adjusted EBITDA, well above the top end of our guidance range. This growth was driven by our three core mobile franchises Slots, Words With Friends and Poker, which grew 61% year-over-year. These results reflect the progress we continue to make in mobile where bookings have grown 26% versus the prior year and now make up 69% of our total bookings, up from 66% in Q2. We also continue to improve monetization and in Q3, we saw average bookings per user (ABPU) grow 27% year-over-year and 10% sequentially. Today, we also announced a $200 million stock buyback program. Given our belief in the social gaming opportunity, our talent and our IP, we believe this is in our shareholders’ interests.

At the end of September 2015, cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities totaled $1.07 billion, compared to $1.10 billion in the previous quarter. Cash flow from operations was negative $5 million for the third quarter of 2015.

Shares of Zynga closed Tuesday up 2.5% at $2.45, with a consensus analyst price target of $3.26 and a 52-week trading range of $2.20 to $3.13. Following the release of the earnings report, shares were up 1.6% at $2.49 in the after-hours trading session.