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Walt Disney buys Playdom

Company nabs social gaming firm for $563.2 million

As expected, the Walt Disney Co. has acquired social gaming firm Playdom Inc. for $563.2 million, which will enable the Mouse House to integrate more of its characters and properties online.

Deal includes a performance-linked earn-out of up to $200 million.

Over the past two years, Playdom has been able to attract more than 42 million gamers each month to its titles like Social City, Sorority Life, Market Street and Bola that are available on social networks like Facebook and MySpace.

Playdom will become part of Disney’s digital gaming portfolio, which already includes the popular Club Penguin destination for kids.

“We see strong growth potential in bringing together Playdom’s talented team and capabilities with our great creative properties, people and world-renowned brands like Disney, ABC, ESPN and Marvel,” said Robert Iger, president and CEO of the Walt Disney Co. “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.”

Disney will use Playdom’s social gaming software tools to bolster Disney Interactive IMG’s online, console and mobile gaming offerings. Playdom runs 15 game development studios and will remain headquartered in Mountain View, Calif.

The company’s CEO John Pleasants will become an executive VP of the Disney Interactive Media Group and general manager of Playdom, reporting to DIMG president Steve Wadsworth.

Deal is expected to close by the end of Disney’s fiscal year.

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