BofA Slaps Zynga With 'Neutral' Rating, Shares Slide

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Published March 20, 2013

| FOXBusiness

Shares of Zynga (ZNGA) slumped more than 5% on Wednesday as investors digested a downgrade to “neutral” by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC).

The bank reportedly cut its outlook on Zynga from “buy,” citing “less valuation upside” for the San Francisco-based “Farmville” maker following a 47% year-to-date gain, according to reports from niche media outlets.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank said the social game maker’s shares, which have risen recently amid states’ growing adoption of online poker, now reflect the long-term potential value of Zynga.

BofA analyst Justin Post also warns that “competitive real-money poker launches and summer seasonality on core businesses could limit further enthusiasm."

The downgrade comes nearly two months after BofA upgraded Zynga on Feb. 5 ahead of its fourth-quarter earnings report in which the operator of “Words with Friends” posted a surprise adjusted profit and widely trumped Wall Street expectations on the top line.

Zynga shares fell nearly 5% to $3.29 in morning trade and are off 75% from all-time highs.

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