Walt Disney to acquire social games maker Playdom in a $763.2-mn deal

The Walt Disney Co. plans to gain a foothold in the the social gaming business and yesterday said that it had entered into a deal to acquire Playdom, a provider of online social games to social networking sites like Facebook, for as much as $763.2 million.

By acquiring Playdom, Disney plans to strengthen its digital gaming portfolio, acquire a first-rate management team and provide consumers new ways to interact with the company on popular social networks like Facebook and MySpace, said the company in a statement.

Start up firm Playdom, based in Mountain View, California, is becoming the world's fastest-growing social gaming company and has been named as ''2010 Hottest Silicon Valley Companies,'' by Lead411, a provider of information and research about US companies.

Playdom, with about 42 million monthly active users, has popular online games like Mobster series, Sorority Life, Poker Palace, Tiki Farm and others. It is the largest social game developer on social networking sites MySpace and one of the largest on Facebook.

The company has 15 game development studios, made two acquisitions and managed to raise $76 million from investors since it was founded in 2008.

Its main competitor is Zynga, in which, Google recently took a financial stake, the maker of the popular Facebook game FarmVille.