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Zynga lays off 314 to 'create a more efficient organization'

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Zynga is laying off 314 employees as part of its continuing efforts to "create a more efficient organization" and cut costs, announced CEO Don Mattrick in a companywide email today.

The cuts represent about 15 percent of Zynga's global workforce.

"We don't take these decisions lightly but we believe these actions will allow us to create a clearer, faster path to win," said Mattrick.

According to Mattrick, Zynga made the decision to implement the 15 percent reduction plan after spending the last six months figuring out the right sizes for "agile, dedicated teams," with an eye toward "being more focused and more disciplined as it relates to consumers and our ability to differentiate against competitors."

Mattrick was the head of the Xbox division at Microsoft until he left the company for Zynga last July, and upon taking the CEO job he highlighted efficiency as one of his main initiatives to turn the company around. However, at the time, Mattrick dismissed recommendations that Zynga make further cuts following a major round of layoffs in June, saying, "I see a lot of opportunity in having the collection of people we've assembled."

In his email today, Mattrick emphasized his appreciation for the employees who are losing their jobs.

"On a personal note, these are extremely difficult but important actions that are helping us drive improved results and create a new foundation for future growth. We are saying goodbye to good people and I want to thank them for all of their contributions to Zynga. We wish our friends and colleagues well and know that they will all have future successes," he said.

Mattrick made the layoff announcement today alongside the release of Zynga's fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 financial results. The company also announced it is acquiring NaturalMotion, the British studio behind the football game Backbreaker and physics technology such as the Euphoria engine, for $527 million.