Zynga says 'gimme back' to early employees awarded company stocks

Mark Pincus
Mark Pincus

Or you're fired. No, seriously. That's essentially how a recent report by The Wall Street Journal reads, citing anonymous sources. According to the report, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus (pictured) and a number of his fellow higher-ups decided that it had awarded employees with too much stock while planning its much-awaited initial public offering (IPO) last year. Zynga wasn't very happy with the situation that put it in.

With this hindsight, Zynga decided to offer said employees an ultimatum: Either return your not-yet-vested stock or pack up your things. (According to CNET, it's common for tech startups to dole out stock packages to desired prospects to make seemingly-low salaries more attractive on the outset.) WSJ reports that Pincus and crew tried to offer the take-it-or-leave-it to employees they felt whose contributions to Zynga didn't reflect the potential windfall they could come into once the IPO hit. According to WSJ, the execs hoped to lure in future employees with the promise of stock.

To put things into perspective, Zynga is expected to clear $1 billion with its IPO, which could make some of said employees very, very rich. Once Pincus and other execs approached their target employees with the demand, they were unsurprisingly met with resistance. WSJ cites two anonymous employees that hired attorneys to settle with Zynga, giving up only a portion of their shares.

One of those employees has since left the FarmVille maker. Of course, this is far from the first time nameless Zynga employees have spoke out regarding the company's practices. We've reached out to Zynga for comment.

What do you think of how Zynga handled the situation, based on the WSJ report? How would you have reacted to such an ultimatum? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.

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