Disney and social gaming startup Playdom are in “very” late stage acquisition discussions, we’ve heard from, oh, about seven independent sources, including sources close to Playdom, over the last several days. Internally the two parties have referred to the deal as “Project Platinum” based on due diligence documents we’ve reviewed.
Some sources have said the deal is signed and in the closing process. Others say it hasn’t been signed yet and could still unravel.
Disney is already an investor in Playdom – last month we reported that Disney’s Steamboat Ventures participated in a new injection of $33 million into the company. Playdom has raised a total of $76 million, and the most recent valuation of the company was around $345 million.
We’ve heard a wide range of speculation on the price Disney is paying for Playdom but haven’t confirmed anything yet. It’s probably safe to assume it’s a multiple of that $345 million valuation, though. Zynga, Playdom’s much larger competitor, has likely been valued at more than $2 billion in recent financings.
Does the deal make sense for Disney? There are a number of arguments that it does. Disney is weak in the social space, and despite making investments in MMOs, such a the acquisition of Club Penguin in 2007, digital revenues continue to make up a tiny percentage of overall revenue.
Disney has exceptional brands, from characters to movies, that can benefit from having social games being built around them. Social games generate revenue, sometimes lots of it, and it’s also free marketing. Expect to see social games around movies being released in advance in the future.
Earlier this month Disney acquired Tapulous.