British gaming firm NaturalMotion snapped up by Zynga for $527m

Oliver Smith
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UK DEVELOPER NaturalMotion was last night snapped up by Zynga, the US games developer behind FarmVille and ChefVille, for $527m (£319.5m).

NaturalMotion, founded by 41-year-old Oxford University graduate Torsten Reil, has created games like Clumsy Ninja and CSR Racing for Apple’s mobile devices.

The firm has offices in London, Oxford, Brighton and San Francisco.

Zynga’s share price rose over 20 per cent in after hours trading after it announced the acquisition in its fourth-quarter results, along with plans to slash 15 per cent of its workforce.

NaturalMotion, backed by Balderton Capital, is the second British technology company to be acquired by a US firm this week, following Google’s $660m purchase of DeepMind, an artificial intelligence company that had also been developing games, on Monday.

Zynga once among the hottest tech companies with rapid revenue growth from its Facebook-based games, was caught off guard as the games industry saw a boom in smartphone gaming.

Zynga’s share price has fallen more than 75 per cent from its high in early 2012, to close at just $3.56 a share yesterday.

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