Walt Disney on Tuesday agreed to buy Playdom, which makes social games for Facebook, a move that sets the stage for Mickey Mouse and Iron Man to feature in games on the world’s largest social networking site.
The deal is the richest ever in the young but fast-growing market for social games, which are free to play and appeal to a wider range of users than traditional video games. The deal, which is expected to close by the end of Disney’s 2010 fiscal year, includes an additional performance-linked earn-out of up to $200 million, Disney said on Tuesday.
The purchase extends Disney’s drive into online and mobile games. This month, the company bought Tapulous Inc., a developer of music-related games for Apple Inc.’s iPod and iPad. Playdom has the talent Disney needs to expand in social media, Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said in an interview. Playdom announced a content partnership with Disney’s ESPN sports cable channel in May.
Disney fell 12 cents to $34.28 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have gained 6.3 percent this year.