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Zynga Founder Returns As CEO, Stock Tanks

Mark Pincus' return to the gaming company is met with a less-than-lukewarm reception.

Posted on April 8, 2015, at 6:32 p.m. ET


Less than two years after stepping down as CEO of Zynga, Mark Pincus has returned to lead the gaming company he founded — and investors don't seem too pleased by the news.

Zynga's stock tumbled 11% in after-hours trading, following the company's announcement that CEO Don Mattrick would be immediately replaced by Pincus, its controversial founder and former chief executive. Zynga shares, which closed Wednesday at $2.90, were trading at $2.60 by 6 p.m. ET, despite Pincus' pledge to make social games a mass-market activity.

"I am returning to the company that I love in order to accelerate innovation," Pincus wrote in a post to the Zynga blog. "Zynga pioneered social gaming for the mass market and our mission to connect the world through games has never wavered."

Sadly for Zynga, the same cannot be said of the world's enthusiasm for that mission. There isn't a single Zynga app in the top 15 of App Annie's list of top-grossing apps on Apple's App Store and Google Play. And the company's stock had been performing poorly during Mattrick's tenure. Valued at $9 billion following its December 2011 IPO, Zynga is currently worth about $2.6 billion.