July 28, 2010, 4:33 PM

Disney acquires online gamer Playdom.com for $563.2 million

Walt Disney Co. wants a bigger piece of the online gaming market.

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Walt Disney Co. wants a bigger piece of the online gaming market and it’s making more acquisitions to accomplish the mission.

Yesterday, Walt Disney, No. 66 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, acquired Playdom Inc., an online social gaming developer, in a deal valued at $563.2 million. Playdom shareholders also may be eligible for an additional performance-based earnout of up to $200 million, Disney says. The deal is expected to close by the end of Disney’s 2010 fiscal year in October.

Since its founding in 2008, Playdom has built games such as Social City, Sorority Life, Market Street and Bola for various social networks, including Facebook, and now has an estimated 42 million active players each month, Disney says.

“By acquiring Playdom, Disney will strengthen its already-robust digital gaming portfolio, acquire a first-rate management team and provide consumers new ways to interact with the company on popular social networks like Facebook and MySpace,” says Disney.

Playdom, which has 15 game development studios, will remain headquartered in Mountain View, CA, says Disney.  CEO Chief John Pleasants will become an executive vice president of the Disney Interactive Media Group and general manager of Playdom, reporting to group president Steve Wadsworth, says Disney.

"This acquisition furthers our strategy of allocating capital to high-growth businesses that can benefit from our many characters, stories and brands, delivering them in a creatively compelling way to a new generation of fans on the platforms they prefer," says Disney CEO Robert A. Iger.

Playdom is Disney’s latest online gaming acquisition. Earlier this month Disney also acquired Tapulous, which develops apps and music-based games. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

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