Disney to Buy YouTube Network Maker Studios for $500M

The Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) has agreed to buy Maker Studios for $500 million, becoming a major online video distributor through the purchase of one of YouTube's largest networks, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The price tag could rise to $950 million if Maker hits certain performance milestones, the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been announced.

The deal, which grants the media and entertainment company a strong foothold in online video content and technology, is expected to be announced shortly.

Maker, founded in 2009, helps produce and distribute videos to more than 380 million subscribers worldwide across more than 55,000 channels. Its videos now collectively garner some 5.5 billion views every month, according to the source.

The company is partners with PewDiePie, the online persona of 24 year-old video gamer Felix Kjellberg, who with over 25 million subscribers is YouTube's single most-subscribed star.

(Reporting By Ronald Grover and Malathi Nayak. Editing by Andre Grenon)