Visa Buys Virtual Goods Monetization Platform PlaySpan For $190 Million In Cash

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PlaySpan, a virtual goods monetization platform, has been acquired by Visa. According to the release, Visa will pay $190 million in cash for the company, plus additional payouts for performance milestones. The deal comes nearly a year after Visa spent a whopping $2 billion on e-payment company CyberSource. Visa says that the acquisition of PlaySpan complements the CyberSource deal and will extend the company’s presence in digital and mobile commerce.

This is a big exit for PlaySpan, which has raised a total of $46 million in funding since its launch four years ago. PlaySpan has been growing like a weed, striking partnerships with a number of social network, gaming and media companies, including Viacom, Disney, Facebook, Ubisoft, and Sanrio.

PlaySpan’s flagship product UltimatePay is a ‘Monetization as a Service’ platform for apps, games, videos and digital goods. Based on the user’s location, the payments platform draws from over 85 different payment options. Because of its vast variety of payment options (which include PayPal, pre-paid cards, and a number of credit cards), UltimatePay is designed for a global audience. Currently, PlaySpan powers virtual goods marketplaces across 1,000 video games, virtual world publishers and social networks.

The company also recently launched a mobile version of UltimatePay, which gives smartphone developers a way to deliver a one-click payment experience to mobile gamers, and provide a comprehensive payments offering. The mobile focused platform allows players to view their balance and transaction history, while allowing them to purchase items in-app without ever having to leave the game.

As virtual goods becomes a booming business, PlaySpan has reaped the benefits of technology and media companies looking to incorporate virtual goods into their platforms.

Visa says that ecommerce sales, which reached an estimated $948 billion, are a big growth area for the company. Approximately 45 percent of U.S. online spending takes place on Visa’s network today and for Visa’s fiscal first quarter 2011, the company reported 25 percent year-over-year growth in ecommerce payment volumes globally. Visa is going to use PlaySpan to capitalize on the growing digital goods market, which generated an estimated $25 billion in consumer spending globally in 2010 and is expected to reach $280 billion by 20143.

The acquisition is even more impressive when you conside that the company was founded by 12-year-old, Arjun Mehta, in 2006. PlaySpan is actually run by the teenager’s father, CEO and co-founder Karl Mehta.

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