Disney in takeover talks with Playdom

Walt Disney is planning a major push into social gaming, according to the Wall Street Journal, which says it’s in talks to acquire Playdom.

Playdom is one of the biggest players in online social gaming, with the number three slot for Facebook games after Zynga and Electronic Arts.

Its games include Poker Palace, Wild Ones, Social City and Tiki Farm. The company’s Mobsters game is the most popular on MySpace, and it claims to have more than 38 million monthly active users in all. On its website,  it claims: “We may be the fastest growing social gaming company on the planet.”

The deal will help Walt Disney move its social gaming efforts to slightly more grown-up users than Club Penguin, which is aimed at children and which it bought in 2007. The WSJ reckons plausibly that Disney will incorporate its many well-known brands into social games – though a version of Mobsters where Mickey Mouse guns down Pluto probably isn’t on the cards any time soon.

The price is rumored to be the subject of some negotiation, with figures mooted between $400 million and $750 million. Disney already has a relationship with Playdom, recently putting money into the company through its venture capital fund. It also has a deal with Playdom to develop social games for ESPN.