Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group late Tuesday said it had bolstered its growing interactive games business with the acquisition of "Lord of the Rings" online gaming studio Turbine Inc.

Burbank-based Warner Bros. Home Entertainment described Boston-based Turbine as the largest privately-held online gaming studio in North America. Turbine becomes part of the Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment group.

The company did not disclose terms of the deal, but a Boston Globe source told the newspaper that Warner Bros. will pay as much as $160 million, plus additional payments if Turbine meets certain financial targets.

“Turbine’s renowned online game development and publishing expertise will help us develop additional online product offerings, while also providing us with new and innovative ways to market and communicate with our consumers,” said Warner Bros. Home Entertainment President Kevin Tsujihara in a statement.

Founded in 1994, Turbine is creator of such popular Internet games as “Dungeons & Dragons Online,” “Eberron Unlimited,” and “The Lord of the Rings Online.”

The acquisition gives Warner Bros. control over all video game formats based on author J.R.R. Tolkien's popular Lord of the Rings novels. Turbine holds the license to make an Internet-based Rings games, while Warner Bros. has the right to make non-Internet video games based on the franchise.

The acquisition also gives Warner Bros. access to Turbine’s better social networking and e-commerce functions for online games. Players subscribe to Turbine’s online Lord of the Rings and other games for monthly membership fees of about $15.

Warner Bros.’ previous acquisitions in this space include TT Games, developer of the hit LEGO-based game franchises; “Mortal Kombat” franchise developer Midway Games and Snowblind Studios. Most recently, Warner Bros. acquired a majority stake in Rocksteady Studios, a privately held developer of interactive entertainment targeted at teens and adults.

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