Zynga, a computer game developer with close ties to DreamWorks Animation, today joined Pandora, LinkedIn, and Bankrate in the parade of companies looking to cash in on Wall Street’s fascination with all things tech. The maker of popular Facebook games including FarmVille and Mafia Wars said in an SEC filing that it wants to raise as much as $1 billion in a public stock offering. With the sale “we hope to enable Zynga to invest more in play than any company in history,” CEO Mark Pincus says in a note to potential shareholders. His board includes DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. Last month the studio supported Zynga’s first in-game integration with an ad sponsor: Players building cities in the game CityVille could add drive-in movie theaters that played Kung Fu Panda 2.
Zynga says that it turned profitable last year: It had net income of $90.6 million, up from a $52.8 million loss in 2009, on revenues of $597.5 million, up 392%. But the company warns that it’s almost entirely dependant on Facebook which could change its terms with game developers at any time. Although Zynga didn’t disclose how many shares it wants to sell, it says that there will be three classes of common stock with different voting rights so current managers can continue to control the company.