Online game maker Zynga (Farmville, Words with Friends, Mafia Wars, etc.) went public yesterday, issuing 100 million shares of stock at the price of $10 each — putting $1 billion in its pocket as a result. While that’s a lot of money in anyone’s book, Zynga’s resulting market cap of $7 billion is about one-third of what was predicted last summer, when a number of analysts put the company’s value at $20 billion. To add insult to injury, Zynga’s share price fell 50 cents by the end of the day, to close at $9.50.
So, what happened?
As Kathy pointed out last month, this latest crop of Internet IPOs has not fared so well. Despite excitement for the rumored Facebook IPO sometime in 2012, IPOs of online companies just aren’t generating much of a splash. Make no mistake about it: investors are buying the stock (and some are selling — at a loss). But there’s very little exuberance surrounding these IPOs — certainly nothing like the first wave of Internet IPOs back in the late ’90s.
I personally think that investors are coming around to the realization that, for a company to have value, it has to be profitable, and its business model must be sustainable over a long period of time. Unfortunately for many of the latest crop of online businesses, this is clearly not the case. And thus another bubble — albeit, smaller than the one that preceded it — goes *pop*.