Club Penguin Sold to Disney for Big Bucks

The trio get $350 million in cash, $350 million in future payments, making a payday for each in the neighbourhood of $115 million. The three will also join Disney as senior execs responsible for the popular (700,000 subscribers, paying from $6 to $58 a year) online Antarctic world in which animated penguins are avatars for kids around North America. They should be excited. Club Penguin is a great BC story. The three started their company by themselves in 2005 and within two years bootstrapped it to one of the most popular and lucrative kids sites on the Web. It’s the dream of every BC entrepreneur – start a company with nothing and grow it rapidly to the point where someone comes in and pays hundreds of millions for it. I had to laugh when one blogger referred to Club Penguin as existing somewhere in “remote British Columbia”, as if to imply that it was out in the absolute boonies, which of course made the deal even more outlandish. But thinking on it, maybe they inadvertently had something there. In an interview with, Merrifield, a former Disneyland employee, said at least $30 million of the sales proceeds will go to a charitable foundation the three started along with their company and have been contributing 10 per cent of their net profits to all along. “It’s part of our DNA,” to put something back into the community,” he explained. Also, Merrifield suggested that the deal with Disney wasn’t solely about getting rich. The group had similar offers from other companies, but didn’t take them. Instead, he said, it was about picking the right partner who would fit the values the three hold. They didn’t want “certain kinds of money” and the sale to Disney would supply an infrastructure for expansion to touch kids in other cultures and languages. “At the end of the day, the dollars were not really a priority and never have been,” he explained. So, we have here in BC three new Web millionaires who could have made more but stayed true to their values, will remain in and continue to help their “remote” communities, and will actively continue working to expand their virtual community around the world. Personal values instead of money. Gee, I guess that is kind of remote.