Zynga Shows Investors It Has a Chance

Zynga’s fourth-quarter earnings are just rolling in, and they look good compared to the company’s already lowered expectations for the period.

chance game

Minutes after the release went out, Zynga’s stock was up nearly 5 percent to $2.88 a share. During regular trading today, Zynga’s shares were already higher based on an analyst’s upgrade.

Here’s what it reported:

The social games company said bookings for the year totaled $1.15 billion to beat the company’s forecast of $1.1 billion (bookings account for the sales from virtual goods that occur in the fourth quarter).

It also said adjusted EBITDA, which is earnings before some expenses, totaled $213.2 million for the year, which was way above its range of $152 million to $162 million. For the full year, though, it said non-GAAP earnings totaled seven cents a share, a nice beat over its forecast of two cents to three cents a share.

On a quarterly basis, Zynga beat analyst expectations, which were no doubt low for the period.

The company reported a net loss of six cents a share (or a profit of one cent a share on an adjusted basis) on revenue of $311.2 million. Analysts were expecting an adjusted loss of three cents a share on revenue of $212.1 million, according to FactSet.

Zynga’s GAAP net loss of $209.4 million in 2012 was heavily influenced by a $53.8 million restructuring charge for changes it made internationally. However, revenue was up 12 percent year over year to $1.28 billion, fueled by a 7 percent increase in online game revenue and an 84 percent increase in advertising revenue.

Over the past three quarters, Zynga has been working hard on its turnaround, so this is just another baby step along the way.

The San Francisco games company slashed expenses, including a reduction in headcount, and named an all-new executive team as AllThingsD featured in a story yesterday. We’ll be hearing at 2 pm PT from the company’s management team, including CEO Mark Pincus, along with its new COO David Ko and CFO Mark Vranesh, who replaced Dave Wehner in November.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work