It’s game on with one hand out and another in a fist as Zynga follows Twitter’s lead and threatens to move its highly paid employees to Silicon Valley unless San Francisco grants the company a payroll tax waiver on employee stock option gains.
In a meeting last week that included San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus and CFO David Wehner, company executives indicated that without their own exemption Zynga may convert its 270,00 square-foot office into a call center and relocate its headquarters – including its programmers and highly paid staff – to Silicon Valley, according to people present at the meeting. In the week since, the company has contacted a number of supervisors to argue a similar case, said at least two supervisors who have met with the company.
Zynga, creator of popular online games like Farmville, is expected to go public within the next few years. The company is particularly concerned about a payroll tax provision unique to San Francisco that allows the city to tax gains on employee stock options.
According to the Bay Citizen, City Hall was “stunned by Zynga’s threat,” which, to be honest, is the only part of this story that actually stunned us.