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Summary:

Get ready for Epic Rap Battles to come to Disney World any day now: Disney has officially acquired Maker Studios for $500 million.

Disney has acquired Maker Studios for $500 million, with an additional $450 million waiting for Maker’s founders and backers if certain conditions are met. The acquisition was first reported by Reuters Monday, and followed reports about negotiations between the two companies a few weeks ago.

Maker is one of a number of so-called multichannel networks (MCNs) on YouTube, which means it operates as well as partners with a number of popular channels on the video site. Maker’s YouTube channels have more than 4.5 billion monthly video views, and more than 340 million subscribers. Some of the better-known channels include PewDiePie and Epic Rap Battles of History.

Maker was founded by original YouTube talent, including early online video stars Lisa Donovan and Shay Carl Butler and Danny Zappin, who used to serve as the company’s CEO. However, as the company looked to expand and turn YouTube video views into a profitable business, it also frequently clashed with some of its talent and even executives. Zappin sued Maker after its ouster last summer, and YouTube star Ray William Johnson engaged in a very public spat with the company at the end of 2012.

Maker Studios raised a total of $70 million from Greycroft, Time Warner, SingTel and others.

Image courtesy of Flickr user  sushi♥ina.

  1. beenyweenies Monday, March 24, 2014

    Unless I’m mistaken, the Maker network of YouTube channels generates 4.5 BILLION monthly page views, not 4.5 million.

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    1. Insert Austin Powers joke here. Thanks for catching, corrected.

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  2. Any ideas on how much ownership, if any, the early founders maintain: kassem, sharcarls, lisa nova, et all?

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    1. Thats what I’m wondering, Shay said he’s going to get fraction of the 500m they sold it for but said its no where near 50m. What I interpreted was its between 5-10M at least on his part. He has always been integral part of maker so i makes sense he had at least 1-2 % stake in maker even more but less 50m.

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  3. Good money after bad…

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