Disney Adds Kaboose Properties in $18m Deal

Disney Online has purchased the North American properties of Kaboose, Inc. for $18 million, significantly beefing up its stable of family-oriented Web properties.

Among the sites Disney acquired in the deal are AmazingMoms.com, Parentzone.com, FunSchoool.com, Zeeks.com and the company’s flasgship site, Kaboose.com.

Kaboose also sold its European properties to Barclays Private Equity Limited for about $97 million.

The sell-off was made necessary after the failing economy threatened to drag Kaboose down with it, according to a statement from Jason DeZwirek, chairman and CEO of the Toronto-based company.

“2008 was a difficult year for many businesses and shareholders, and Kaboose was no exception,” he said, citing specific weaknesses in the capital markets and media and advertising sectors. “With the advice of our financial advisors, the company’s board of directors determined that Kaboose could divest its assets and realize significantly greater value than we could deliver as an independent public media company in the foreseeable future.”

In 2007, Disney purchased Club Penguin, a virtual world aimed at pre-teens, for $350 million.

That site, along with other Disney child-targeted properties, accepts no third-party advertising, whereas Kaboose.com and several of its other properties do. Disney has not stated whether it plans to make changes to advertising on Kaboose properties.

“This acquisition strengthens our position as a top entertainment destination for kids and families, and a trusted online resource for parents,” Paul Yanover, EVP and managing director of Disney Online, said in a written statement. “These new Web properties complement Disney Online’s category-leading kids and family sites, broadening our audience and infusing an array of new content into our sites, particularly in the baby and mom categories.”

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