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Was Zynga's OMGPOP Purchase Smart?

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

NEW YORK ( Trefis ) -- Zynga (ZNGA) has made a lot of acquisitions in the last couple of years in order to maintain its rapid growth.

However, it made its biggest acquisition to date, OMGPOP, in March, purchasing the maker of the top mobile app, Draw Something, for more than $210 million.
Zynga CEO Mark Pincus

Draw Something is the fastest-growing game in terms of users.

It quickly overtook Zynga's top five games to claim the top spot in terms of daily active users, one of the best measures of engagement.

Check out our complete analysis of Zynga here.

Draw Something even passed 50 million downloads this week and continues to be one of the most popular games in Apple's (AAPL) App Store.

Acquiring OMGPOP also gives Zynga the ability to cross-promote its other games to users of Draw Something, giving it greater reach in the mobile gaming market, which it is trying to dominate as it focuses on alternatives to the online social gaming space to drive additional revenue.

However, Zynga may have bought Draw Something right before it peaked, which raises the question whether it overpaid. Even though it is still the number one app in terms of daily active users on AppData, and one of the top paid games on the App Store, its growth curve in terms of daily active users has almost flattened and it has dropped from the top spot on the App Store.

Since its most popular games and apps are quickly drowned out in the hypercompetitive mobile gaming market, there is a good chance that Draw Something will soon be overtaken by another mobile game and see a slow decline in user engagement levels.

Ultimately, whether it was a good acquisition for Zynga boils down to how effectively Zynga is able to leverage its existing user base to drive usage of its other games. Assuming that part of the reason behind the quick acquisition was to quickly hire additional mobile gaming talent, Zynga could also leverage the OMGPOP team to try and build the next big hit, but given the very low probability of hitting the jackpot again, Zynga may very well have overpaid for OMGPOP.
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