Kara Swisher

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After Zynga Confirms 18 Percent Layoffs, It Lowers Guidance in All-In Mobile Move

Zynga confirmed it was laying off 18 percent of its workforce — which represents 520 employees — in a bid to reduce costs, as it seeks to drastically restructure its troubled business.

The move today will affect every part of the San Francisco social gaming company, cutting $80 million in staff costs for its 2,900 current workers. It will also include the closing of its offices in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, as well as other infrastructure costs, adding to the total expense reduction.

Zynga continues to have big offices in San Francisco; Beijing, China; and Bangalore, India, as well as several small units across the U.S. (such as Seattle and San Diego).

Sources said that severance benefits will extend for several months and include some acceleration of stock options.

In addition, Zynga has now said in a press release that it is downgrading its investor guidance for the second quarter with results at the lower end of what Wall Street has been expecting.

After a rocky IPO and trying to cope with rapid changes in its core businesses, Zynga has been trying to refocus the company’s franchises and network on the shift to mobile and a narrowing of focus at the company.

That refocusing will now have a big impact on Zynga’s financial performance. For Q2, the company had previously said its “bookings” — related to sales of in-game virtual-good purchases and advertising — would be in the $180 million to $190 million range. Today, Zynga said results would now be in the lower half of that range.

In addition, its GAAP net loss for the quarter will be higher than expected, rising from a loss of $26.5 million to $36.5 million to a loss of between $28.5 million and $39 million.

All other metrics are expected to remain the same, including: Revenue ($225 million to $235 million); earnings per share (a loss of three to five cents); adjusted EBITDA (break even to a loss of $10 millon); and non-GAAP EPS (a loss of three to four cents).

Wall Street is not reacting well to the bad news. Zynga’s shares have dropped from 11 to 12 percent since AllThingsD.com broke the news of the layoffs. It is now at about $3 a share, giving the company a market valuation of $2.4 billion. Trading for Zynga was briefly halted, before the company confirmed the cost cuts.

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