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Google Listed As a Zynga Investor

Yes, this is my farm. won't you be my neighbor?

Yes, this is my farm. won't you be my neighbor?

Monday afternoon Farmville developer Zynga reportedly filed a 619-page document (S-1) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), tripled in size compared to its original initial public offering (IPO) filing on July 1. What this means is that the new document is jam-packed with information not provided in the previous IPO filing including a long list of investors that just so happens to reveal Google in the #1 spot.

Does this mean Google is Zynga's biggest investor? It may be just a coincidence that it resides at the top of the list, but at least the filing clearly verifies previous reports that Google has dumped money into the developer despite denials. It also doesn't mean that Google plans to yank Farmville off Facebook, as the list also includes other notable investors like LinkedIn Chairman and co-founder Reid Hoffman, early Facebook investor Peter Thiel, investment firm Union Square Ventures and others.

News of Google's investment have lingered for more than a year, noted as a possible "strategic move" against social rival Facebook. Google's investment was initially reported at $100 million but has since grown. There's also been talk that the investment was tied into the launch of Google Games which will supposedly reside within the just-launched social platform, Google+.

According to AllThingsD which originally discovered Google as an investor, the amount of capital Zynega raised has not changed. In the new filing, the developer claims that it raised three official rounds between February 2008 and February 2011, totaling $845 million. Zynega reports that its largest round summed at $490 million which was raised as early as February 2011.

In a separate post, the site reports that Zynga has a commitment with Facebook in that any game it develops for the social platform -- which integrates the site or its data -- will be exclusive to Facebook for the duration of the agreement. These titles include Farmville, Mafia Wars, FishVille, PetVille, Cafe World and a few others. These cannot be played unless users are actively connected through Facebook.

Zynga has also agreed to inform Facebook of any upcoming games at least one week before completion. The exclusivity terms kick in as soon as the game is launched on the social website. In exchange for its obedience, Facebook will help the developer meet "certain growth targets for monthly unique users of Covered Zynga Games." Facebook will also sell ads planted next to Zynga games and share a redacted portion of the resulting revenue.

That said, any thoughts about Farmville heading to Google Games is out the door. The filing seemingly indicates that Facebook has first dibs on any game Zynga produces, and will claim exclusivity if it chooses to host a chosen title. So far it's unclear as to how much control Facebook may have over other Zynga titles that are not on the Facebook platform.

So what now? With both Google and Facebook serving as rivals and Zynga investors at the same time, it will be interesting to see what happens with the developer's public offering. Zynga is seeking to raise $1 billion from its IPO.

  • eddieroolz
    With Google+ in the scene now, Facebook probably isn't going to be very happy about this.
  • johnsmithhatesVLC
    Watch as Google+ gets zynga games that sell your personal information just like facebook.