The Walt Disney Company has paid $500 million for Maker Studios, one of YouTube’s largest multi-channel networks, according to a report by Deadline.
Maker, founded in 2009, boasts 55,000 channels, 380 million subscribers and 5.5 billion video views a month on YouTube, with its producers mostly targeting the younger millennial generation.
The deal, started earlier this month, could see Disney pay another $450 million if Maker hits certain performance targets.
“Shortform online video is growing at an astonishing pace and with Maker Studios, Disney will now be at the center of this dynamic industry with an unmatched combination of advanced technology and programming expertise and capabilities,” said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company.
The Maker deal is Disney’s biggest acquisition since it bought Star Wars creator LucasFilm for $4.05 billion in late 2012.
The Maker deal comes after Warner Bros. led an $18 million round of investment in struggling YouTube network Machinima earlier this month. Last year, DreamWorks Animation bought the AwesomenessTV network for $33 million, with a bonus potential of $117 million if the studio met earnings targets over two years.
The Maker transaction, which is subject to regulatory clearances, is expected to close in Disney’s third fiscal quarter.