Zynga adds Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CEO, to board
Zynga, the maker of the Facebook games CityVille, FarmVille and Mafia Wars, has added Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation SKG's chief executive, to its board of directors.
The San Francisco company's board already includes LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman as well as Bing Gordon, a former executive at video game giant Electronic Arts who now works for Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which owns private shares of Zynga.
As Alex Pham reported on our sister blog Company Town this morning, the addition of Katzenberg comes at a high point for the social gaming company:
Katzenberg's move comes amid a a period of wild speculation over the value of Zynga, whose games boasts tens of millions of players each day. Zynga's latest funding round, which raised about half a billion dollars last month, puts its valuation at close to $10 billion, roughly 10 to 20 times the company's estimated annual revenue.
It has been widely reported that Zynga is preparing for an initial public offering next year.
The company's titles, including Cityville, Farmville, Frontierville and Texas Hold'em Poker, currently occupy four of the top 10 applications on Facebook. About 20 million people play Cityville each day, making it the No. 1 app on the social network.
Mark Pincus, Zynga's CEO and founder, announced the addition this morning in a blog post.
"Jeffrey and I have been friends for some time, and I knew he'd be a great fit for the board after he suggested that the blockbuster of 2011 could be ShrekVille," he said. "I see a lot of similarities between DreamWorks Animation and Zynga, far beyond our love of animals."
DreamWorks is a "revolutionary technology company" with a recognized brand, Pincus said.
"It's easy to see the value that Jeffrey will add to Zynga as we grow and look for more ways to delight our players," he said. "In fact, he's immediately sprung into action with his first assignment: finding our seventh board member. I hear that both Jack Black and Mike Myers are incredibly interested."
Pincus said the company was thrilled to have Katzenberg on board.
"I'm looking forward to his guidance, his leadership, and about 1,500 tickets to the opening night of Kung Fu Panda 2," he said.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg attends a digital filmmakers forum Wednesday during CinemaCon in Las Vegas. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images