Disney in talks to buy VC-backed Maker Studios: report

Founder of Maker Studios Shay Carl arrives at the U.S.-Ireland Alliance pre-Academy Awards event in Santa Monica

(Reuters) – Walt Disney Co is in talks to buy Maker Studios, potentially valuing the fast-growing developer and publisher of YouTube entertainment videos at half a billion dollars or more, tech blog Re/code reported on Tuesday, citing anonymous sources.

If the deal goes through, it would be one of the largest investments in a YouTube developer by a traditional media giant. In past years, the website, which is owned by Google Inc, has tried to beef up revenue by fostering a community of professional and commercial developers, spurring the growth of channels such as Machinima and Maker.

Maker draws some 5.5 billion views monthly.

The Los Angeles-based company has raised $63.5 million in venture capital from Greycroft Partners, Upfront Ventures, Northgate Capital, Singtel Ventures (Singapore) Pte Ltd, Time Warner Investments, Lakestar Advisors GmbH and other undisclosed investors, according to Thomson Reuters (publisher of peHUB). Most recently, it raised a $26 million Series C round in September from Upfront, Lakestar, Northgate, Singtel, Canl+ and Astro Overseas Ltd, Thomson Reuters reports. The valuation of the round was undisclosed.

Disney declined to comment. Maker Studios was not available for comment.

Reporting by Reuters’ San Francisco Newsroom, with additional reporting by peHUB

Photo: Founder of Maker Studios Shay Carl arrives at the U.S.-Ireland Alliance pre-Academy Awards event in Santa Monica, California February 27, 2014. Gus Ruelas, Reuters

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