TechCrunch rumourmills $400 million ngmoco acquisition by DeNA
Blowing pretty bubbles?
Still, the flutterings TechCrunch has just hoisted up the flagpole - that Japanese mobile social powerhouse DeNA is looking to buy mobile publisher ngmoco - seems highly speculative.
Not that DeNA wouldn't look to buy ngmoco.
Both are in the same business, but the quoted pricetag of $400 million (at least, from one source) seems eye watering, even for a buying company that looks likely to post revenues of $1 billion and profits of $500 million this financial year.
Add a zero to that
TechCrunch's Michael Arrington does manage to temper his enthusiasm somewhat, pointing out that the price "probably includes a very large earnout", i.e. a large part of it is a bonus if ngmoco meets certain future targets in terms of revenue and profits.
Even so, having raised $45+ million in investment to date, ngmoco is yet to prove its freemium model, which is still limited to iOS devices (albeit with Android due soon), is profitable and longterm sustainable.
Perhaps, more interesting to DeNA, which itself provides a technology platform for thirdparties to deliver their games on, is ngmoco's Plus+ social network.
As well as providing the backbone for ngmoco games such as We Rule and GodFinger, it's used by thirdparty developers such as Godzilab (Slam Dunk), NimbleBit (Pocket Frogs) and Team 17 (Worms).
Too expensive to buy?
Still, the final caveat to the news is that while DeNA may very well be interested in buying ngmoco, the fact that venture capitalists have invested so much in the company means that the price - if really circa $400 million - will be so eye watering no one can actually afford to buy.
For example, Tech Crunch says Zygna was previously sniffing around ngmoco but didn't bite precisely due to its high price.
And - unless more than half of the total is earnout - it's hard to see such a deal making much sense for the purchaser, even viewed through the rolypoly financial logic of corporate M&A oneupmanship.