Walt Disney Taps iPhone Games Developer Tapulous

Tapulous game shot
Tapulous game shot

Walt Disney (DIS) snapped up mobile games developer Tapulous late Thursday, expanding deeper into iPhone territory with a young start-up that has garnered top billing in Apple's (AAPL) App Store with its millions of downloads for its Tap Tap Revenge game, among others.

With the acquisition the Magic Kingdom is looking to expand its piece of a market dominated by the i-triumvirate -- iPhone, iPad and iPod -- as its eyes the rapid expansion of the mobile industry. Tapulous, which develops rhythm and music games, will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Disney and part of the Disney Interactive Media Group.

"Mobile gaming is seeing unprecedented growth and this is the right time to invest to strengthen our position in the mobile business," Steve Wadsworth, Disney Interactive Media's president, said in a statement.

Tapulous hopes the deal will allow it to expand into social entertainment.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it's likely to be far north of the $1.8 million that early investors put into Tapulous. Investors like Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim and high-profile venture capitalist Vinod Khosla have apparently struck gold again.