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Zynga buys game developer NaturalMotion for $527M

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Social game developer Zynga announced today its acquisition of mobile game and technology developer NaturalMotion for approximately $527 million in cash and equity.

NaturalMotion is a privately-held company best known for its work on mobile titles CSR Racing and Clumsy Ninja. The strategic rationale listed for the company's acquisition is the expansion of Zynga's creative pipeline into two new consumer categories: racing and people simulation.

The acquisition of NaturalMotion is one of Zynga's most expensive to date, with the company having previously spent more than $300 million on acquisitions over a three year period starting 2010.

"We believe that bringing Zynga and NaturalMotion together is the right step at the right time," said Zynga CEO Don Mattrick in a statement. "Our acquisition of NaturalMotion will allow us to significantly expand our creative pipeline, accelerate our mobile growth and bring next-generation technology and tools to Zynga that we believe will fast track our ability to deliver more hit games.

"Their creative portfolio aligns perfectly with our content strategy as Zynga will now have five top brands and capabilities in the Farm, Casino, Words, Racing and People categories.  We are confident that we will build upon our market position with complementary strengths to generate long term value for our consumers, our employees and our shareholders."

In addition to the news about the acquisition, Zynga announced a cost-reduction plan that will see its workforce reduced by 15 percent.