Update: Maker Studios confirmed the sale to Disney.
Disney is in negotiations to purchase YouTube network Maker Studios in a deal worth over $500 million, according to a Re/code report citing unnamed sources familiar with the talks.
Maker Studios is a video-production network that primarily produces programming that plays on YouTube. Its YouTube channels command over 5 billion monthly views, according to the company.
The reason why networks like Maker are so attractive to media giants like Disney is due in part to the large audience it can bring in, but also because of the untapped pool of talent that these networks bring to the table. A company like Disney could seemingly help monetize all of that content far beyond the Maker’s current levels, too. (And with top-tier YouTube channel partners frequently complaining that its too difficult to make enough money, Maker’s sale to Disney makes even more sense.)
If the acquisition does take place, it would be the most expensive deal to close for a YouTube network. Maker previously saw a $40 million investment from another big media company, Time Warner, back in late 2012. The sale to Disney would also come after Google’s $35 million purchase of Machinima that same year.
We’re reaching out to both Disney and Maker Studios for more information about the potential sale and will update this post with any new information.