BC website sells for $350 million to Disney
When my friend Graham Hill sold his TreeHugger.com for $10 million, I thought he had done pretty well. I mean - ten million smackeroos! By any standards that's a fortune on this planet. But today another BC boy hit paydirt - Kelowna-based Lane Merrifield has just sold website Club Penguin for a cool $350 million.
Club Penguin launched in October, 2005, and now has more than 700,000 subscribers who pay $5.95 a month or $57.95 a year. The privately held company does not release financial information, but Mr. Merrifield said it was designed to be self-sustaining from its inception and is profitable.
As the site snowballed, picking up subscribers in the United States, Britain and across Canada, calls and e-mails started pouring in from would-be investors and purchasers who wanted to join the march of the penguins all the way to the bank.
The Club Penguin partners held out, aiming to find a partner that would respect the company's approach.
"For us, the process of finding the right partner was paramount," Mr. Merrifield said. "We are passionate about this, this is our baby."
Under the terms of the deal, Club Penguin and its current 130 employees will remain in Kelowna. The company's three founders will join Disney, which says it plans "no immediate changes" to the operation or business model of the company.