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Zynga buys NaturalMotion for $527m, lays off 300 staff

British middleware firm licensed Euphoria tech to Rockstar for GTA 4 and 5

Zynga announced plans on Thursday to lay off approximately 314 employees, or about 15 per cent of its workforce, as part of wider cost-cutting measures.

The social gaming giant said it expects the sweeping redundancy plan could generate savings of as much as $35 million in 2014. Zynga did not specify where these jobs will be culled - the company is headquartered in San Francisco but has studios and support centers across the US, UK, India, and China.

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Zynga also announced that it will spend $527 million to purchase NaturalMotion. The privately held firm created successful mobile games CSR Racing and Clumsy Ninja, but is also behind the Euphoria human physics engine licensed for games like Grand Theft Auto V and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

"We are committed to refining our skills in the art and science of building new hit games and in 2014, we will move aggressively into new genres that align with the timeless, entertainment categories that consumers care about," Zynga CEO Don Mattrick said in a release.

"Our market is growing as measured by device, audience and dollars and we have the privilege to compete in one of the fastest growing parts of the entertainment industry."

Mattrick left his position as head of Microsoft's Xbox division in July to take over Zynga, which had struggled to regain its footing after a lengthy stretch of poor performance and executive departures.

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