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Zynga demands employees return stock or get fired

(CBS/CNET) - As if we needed another reason to loathe FarmVille and CityVille requests. Zynga chief executive officer Mark Pincus is allegedly asking early employees of the social gaming company to turn in their stock or get fired.

According to The Wall Street Journal's sources, Pincus and top executives decided they have given away too many stock options to early employees of the company. Oops. Instead of eating their mistake, the executives pinpointed workers who they didn't feel deserved the small fortune they are about to amass. Those chosen have been asked to return unvested shares in Zynga.

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Zynga is preparing for their initial public offering (IPO). Bloomberg reports the company plans to go public after Thanksgiving and is expected to raise $1 billion.

The Journal cited two Zynga employees, who have hired attorneys to reach a settlement. Yes, they had to give up some, but not all, of their unvested shares.

Here's the thing about the startups in the Silicon Valley. They attract talent with salaries below the industry standard by promising employees stock options. Thus, saving the company from having to front the cash required to keep a full staff. It's a brilliant plan unless you succeed and realize that you've given away a few too many shares.

Zynga was founded in 2007 and has about 3,000 employees in San Francisco.

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