Social networking, a phenomenon which has experienced enormous growth since MySpace brought it into the mainstream, apparently has become so profitable that even Disney, mastermind behind animated classics such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, cannot resist its lure. Disney has reportedly bought Canadian site Club Penguin, a child-oriented virtual chatroom involving penguin avatars, for $350 million. According to figures released by Disney, Club Penguin boasts more than 12 million activated members, primarily from the US and Canada; founded in 2005, it is one of the fastest growing sites for kids aged six to fourteen. On the purchase, Disney President and CEO Bob Iger said, "Club Penguin embodies principles that are of the utmost importance to Disney, providing high-quality family entertainment and fostering parental trust." The new service will be called Disney's Club Penguin, and while the three original founders, Lane Merrifield, Dave Krysko and Lance Priebe, will join Disney's management team, the site will still remained based in Kelowna, Canada.
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