Viacom to Buy Neopets

Viacom has acquired NeoPets, a global kids and teens gaming site. The new property will reside at Viacom’s MTV Networks.

NeoPets is ad-supported, and sells unique sponsorships for much of its gaming content. The site is also among the stickiest sites on the Internet, consistently garnering upwards of 1,000 monthly page views per active user.

The NeoPets franchise includes a magazine, trading cards and plush toys. Viacom, which owns Nickelodeon, has extensive experience developing and monetizing content geared toward teens and pre-teens. The company has had a licensing relationship with NeoPets since 2001. Late in March, Neopets struck a deal with Warner Bros. Pictures to develop Neopets characters and stories into several feature films.

“Since early 2000, when we founded the company, I felt that we could create a strong connection between the youth of the world and our NeoPets-created characters and storylines, which we would ultimately extend into television, movies, merchandise, publishing and other offline vehicles in a very significant way,” NeoPets Chairman and CEO Doug Dohring said in a statement. “While we have already made great strides in this direction over the past five years, MTV Networks, with their extraordinary success and experience in all of these areas, makes an ideal partner to accelerate this process and fully realize our original vision for the Neopets brand.”

Dohring and other senior NeoPets execs will remain with the company.

NeoPets members create virtual pets, which they guide through a series of trials and adventures in a mythical land called Neopia. It has a global audience, with versions in more than seven languages.

Terms were not disclosed, though a report in The Wall Street Journal estimated the value of the deal at $160 million.

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