Local Tech Wire

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Rapidly growing , a developer of social games with a studio in Chapel Hill, is putting to quick use $33 million in new venture funding.

Playdom raised the new funds from existing venture capital investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Steamboat Ventures and New World Ventures. The deal closed Tuesday.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has now raised $76 million in financing.

On Thursday, Playdom acquired Hive7.com, a social gaming startup located in Palo Alto, Calif.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Playdom develops games foe use on social media sites Facebook and MySpace with titles such as Social City, Sorority Life, Mobsters, and Verdonia. The company says more than 130 million copies of Playdom games are installed on social site platforms as well as Apple’s iPhone.

The firm operates studios in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chapel Hill and four other locations, including two outside the U.S.

Playdom bought Merscom in April. The Chapel Hill firm had developed numerous titles and at the time of the acquisition was working on games for National Geographic, Sea World, NBC Universal and Purina.

The 16-year-old company, led by Kirk Owen and Lloyd Melnick, has developed over 250 games. It had a team of more than 20 people. Owen and Melnick agreed to stay to direct the Chapel Hill operation.

Merscom released “The Crazies” in conjunction with the movie in March. It was the first game Merscom developed internally.

In May, Playdom acquired Acclaim Games, which is based in Los Angeles.

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