Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

How to Win at Farmville: Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group Sells Zynga Shares

Zynga generates most of its revenue selling virtual goods for hit Facebook games like Farmville. And that has turned into real money for at least one of its investors.

Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group, an early backer of Mark Pincus’s company, has sold the majority of its Zynga shares. I don’t have details on the size of Pilot’s stake or the value of the transaction, but it’s going to be a huge return by any measure.

Pittman, guided by his digital deal guy, Andy Russell, got in on Zynga’s $10 million A round in January 2008. Since then, Zynga has raised an astonishing $350 million, all while claiming it doesn’t need the money. Investors love the story and are reportedly valuing the company at $3 billion in secondary market deals.

If Zynga’s future is so bright, why sell now? No comment from Zynga or Pilot. But a person familiar with the transaction tells me Pilot is reinvesting its profits in another deal. And it continues to hold some Zynga shares.

So if this thing keeps going–bankers see Zynga as one of the most likely big-name tech IPO candidates in the next couple years–Pilot will still see more upside.