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Plugged In

Zynga sets a date for its IPO

Plugged In

FarmVille has a date with Wall Street on December 16. And we're all invited.

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Four months after signaling its intention to go public, Zynga has finally updated the paperwork to let investors know the date is imminent, with shares set to begin trading in two weeks. But despite speculation about Zynga instantly becoming the highest valued company in the gaming industry, that's likely not going to be in the cards.

The company is looking to price shares between $8.50 and $10, which would give it a top valuation of roughly $7 billion. That's a lot, but it's just half of where outside consultants estimated the company's worth to stand.

The reason the company chose to go low was because of market turbulence. A recent slate of high profile tech IPOs haven't held up well since their splash debuts. Groupon is already below its IPO price. Pandora, Zillow and LinkedIn are also well off their highs.

Zynga's profitable, though, which is something not all of those companies can say. It made more than $90 million last year and is nearly $31 million in the black for the first nine months of this year.

The company is looking to raise about $1 billion through the stock offering, but CEO Mark Pincus will still be firmly in control of the company, thanks to the creation of a third class of stock.

Pincus would hold all of those shares, with each having 70 votes at shareholder meetings. (VC investors would get seven votes per share in their stock class, while folks who buy stock as part of the IPO will get just one vote per share.)

It's a move that has irked some potential investors.

Meanwhile, some feel the IPO could lead to a significant talent drain at the company, as employees who have ridiculous amounts of stock through options and signing bonuses could cash out and leave in the months to come, depending on how the stock performs.

Earlier this week, The New York Times noted worker frustration was on the rise at the company, due to long hours and stressful deadline periods.

A talent drain would worry investors, but as long as the company's profits continue to rise, it might be enough to keep the company's stock price high.

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