Confirming recent rumors, the Walt Disney Co. has announced an agreement to buy social game developer Playdom (Social City, Sorority Life) for as much as $763.2 million.
As part of the acquisition deal, Playdom's shareholders will receive "total consideration" of $563.2 million, which is subject to certain conditions. Disney also promises a "performance-linked earn-out" of up to $200 million, though it did not outline its goals for that bonus.
The media conglomerate says that this purchase will strengthen its digital gaming portfolio, as well as enable new opportunities for fans to interact with the company and its brands on social networks. It adds that Playdom's "social gaming software tools, business intelligence and rapid innovation " will benefit its Disney Interactive Media Group.
Founded in early 2008 and headquartered in Mountain View, Playdom currently has 15 development studios, many of which it has added in the past eight months. The company has acquired or invested in nine developers since last November, including Merscom, Trippert Labs, Offbeat Creations, Three Melons, Green Patch, Argentinian firm MetroGames , Acclaim, Hive7, and most recently Metaplace.
Disney expects to complete the transaction by the end of its 2010 fiscal year on October 3. Playdom's CEO and Electronic Arts veteran John Pleasants will serve as general manager of the developer and join the Disney Interactive Media Group as executive vice president, reporting to that unit's president Steve Wadsworth.
"We are at the start of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way people of all ages play games with their friends across devices, platforms and geographical boundaries," said Pleasants in a statement. "Disney is an incredibly forward-thinking company that shares our vision and is the ideal partner to further our mission to bring great entertainment to people around the world."