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Disney buying social gaming developer Playdom

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- In a move that could bring Mickey Mouse into the online gaming world, Walt Disney Co. said it is buying social game developer Playdom Inc. in a deal worth up to $763 million.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Playdom is among the leading makers of online social games, including Social City and Sorority Life, and engages an estimated 42 million active players each month, Disney said in a statement released late Tuesday.

The deal will position Disney (DIS, Fortune 500) to strengthen its digital gaming portfolio and allow the company to interact with consumers on Facebook and MySpace.

"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," said Robert Iger, Disney's CEO.

Disney said Playdom will initially receive $563.2 million in the deal, and could reap an additional $200 million if it meets performance targets that were not made public. The deal is expected to close by the end of Disney's 2010 fiscal year in October.

Playdom is also among the game developers in talks with Google as it tries to build a social network to compete with Facebook, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Officials at Playdom and Google were not immediately available for comment. To top of page

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