NEW YORK (CNNfn) - The Walt Disney Co. Thursday exercised its option to purchase Paul Allen's remaining interest in Starwave Corp., extending the company's reach into cyberspace.
Disney acquired a third of the Seattle-based Starwave last year from billionaire investor and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen for a reported $80 million. The company designs and runs such web sites as ABC News.com, Mr. Showbiz and ESPN SportsZone.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and officials from both companies were not available for immediate comment.
Starwave will now become part of Buena Vista Internet Group, which is responsible for Disney's Internet initiatives.
Move extends Disney's reach
"The purchase of Starwave gives us the ability to accelerate new product development activities and further expand Disney's portfolio of industry-leading Internet products," said Jake Winebaum, chairman of Buena Vista Internet Group.
"We can now deliver common navigation and services across all of our web sites and leverage a common technology platform. Our advertisers will be able to take advantage of multi-product and network advertising and e-commerce opportunities reaching our unique and rapidly expanding web audience."
As part of Buena Vista Internet Group, Starwave will continue to support the ABC News.com and ESPN SportsZone sites, as well as Mr. Showbiz, CelebSite, Wall of Sound and the official web sites for the NFL, NBA, NASCAR Online, WNBA and Outside magazine.
Disney said Starwave's Seattle office will serve as the core technology developer for the Buena Vista Internet Group.
Starwave's Mike Slade will become president of Buena Vista Internet Group, Patrick Naughton will become the company's chief technology officer and Tom Phillips will run the ESPN sports group.
Shares of Disney (DIS) finished up 11/16 at 124-9/16 at Thursday's close.