Jan 22, 2019

Zynga founder is raising $700 million for new investment fund

Zynga founder Mark Pincus. Photo: Sportsfile/Corbis via Getty Images

Zynga founder Mark Pincus is raising up to $700 million for a new investment fund that will focus on publicly traded tech companies in need of strategic restructuring, Axios has learned.

Details: It's called Reinvent Capital, and Pincus is being joined by veteran hedge fund manager Michael Thompson (ex-BHR Capital).

  • Also involved as a senior adviser is Reid Hoffman, although this is not expected to affect his full-time job as a general partner with VC firm Greylock. Expect him to only spend around one day per month on Reinvent business, with Pincus and Thompson making all of the investment decisions.
  • Pincus, Thompson and Hoffman each are committing $33 million toward the $700 million target. Hoffman's investment (and any subsequent returns) is coming via his family foundation.
  • The strategy is to invest in 7–15 internet, software and media companies that Reinvent believes it can help steer in a smarter direction. This is mostly expected to mean working with company founders, as Pincus is part of the founder-friendly club that doesn't believe in becoming adversarial.
  • It appears to be company size agnostic, willing to work with small, medium and large-cap companies.

The big question, of course, is if investors will decide that Pincus is qualified to lead such a strategy.

  • His argument will be that he built Zynga into a social gaming powerhouse with over $1 billion in annual revenue and that he later returned to help right a ship that had been severely maimed by Facebook. And he'll have numbers to back that up, as Zynga is now profitable and has had four straight years of increased revenue (expected to be around $900m for 2018). Plus, the stock is up over 50% from when he returned as CEO.

The counterargument, of course, will be that Pincus was in charge when Zynga became over-reliant on Facebook in the first place and that the stock bump still only brings the company to $4.26 per share — versus an IPO price of $10 per share.

Pincus declined to comment, due to SEC restrictions.

Go deeper: Zynga buys Small Giant Games in its biggest acquisition yet

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Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.

World coronavirus updates: Total cases surge to over 700,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Saturday he would issue a "strong" travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 43 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 704,095 — Total deaths: 33,509 — Total recoveries: 148,824.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 132,637 — Total deaths: 2,351 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked" people
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reported 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reported almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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