Monday, August 31, 2009

Make Mine Mouse? *UPDATED*

Um... wow:

Disney Acquires Marvel For $4 Billion

RYAN NAKASHIMA | 08/31/09 10:22 AM | AP

LOS ANGELES — The Walt Disney Co. said Monday it is buying Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion in cash and stock, bringing such characters as Iron Man and Spider-Man into the family of Mickey Mouse and WALL-E.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of 5,000 Marvel characters. Many of them, including the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, were co-created by the comic book legend Stan Lee.

Analyst David Joyce of Miller Tabak & Co. said the acquisition will help Disney appeal to young men who have flocked to theaters to see Marvel's superhero fare in recent years. That contrasts with Disney's recent successes among young women with such fare as "Hannah Montana" and the Jonas Brothers.

"It helps Disney add exposure to a young male demographic it had sort of lost some balance with," Joyce said, noting the $4 billion offer was at "full price."

Disney said Marvel shareholders will receive $30 per share in cash, plus 0.745 Disney shares for every Marvel share they own. That values each Marvel share at $50 based on Friday's closing stock prices.

Marvel shares jumped $10.17, or 26 percent, to $48.82 shortly after the market opened. Disney shares fell 47 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $26.37.

Disney said the boards of both companies have approved the transaction, but it will require an antitrust review and the approval of Marvel shareholders.

Disney last made a big purchase in 2006 when it acquired Pixar Animation Studios Inc., the creator of the "Toy Story" franchise, for $7.4 billion in stock.

Disney CEO Robert Iger said the latest acquisition combines Marvel's "strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters" with Disney's "unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties" and ability to maximize value across multiple platforms and territories.

Marvel earned a net profit of $206 million last fiscal year, up 47 percent from a year earlier, on revenue of $676 million, as it took movie production in house instead of just cutting licensing deals.

***

Some questions answered over at CBR:

UPDATE 8:30 AM PDT - There have been a number of developments since the initial press release about Disney’s acquisition of Marvel went out. Disney held a conference call with investors that just finished to discuss the deal and while much of it was focused on the financial aspect of the deal – with regards to both current and future opportunities – there were a number of comments concerning publishing and Marvel’s film slate that are of interest. The bullet points are:
  • Existing licensing and distribution deals should remain where they are.
  • Disney believes there’s real opportunity with the Marvel catalog of characters and will work on where those opportunities are greatest and how best to leverage them across the existing Marvel and Disney infrastructure.
  • Disney executives went to great lengths during the call to make the point that they don’t pretend to be more expert than Marvel is in handling their characters, citing the hands-off relationship Disney has had with Pixar since the acquisition of that studio. Disney said Marvel manages the properties from a business perspective very intelligently and trusts them to make the right decisions for these products for a long time to come.
  • Disney said the deal was attractive not just because they’re buying great characters, stories and brand, but about working with people who know these characters best and how best to work with them in other media.
  • Again, referencing the Pixar deal, Disney finds working as one company with Marvel removes friction and creates value that’s very compelling. Licensing offers very attractive opportunities, but nothing is better than being one. International expansion of Marvel properties through Disney was cited as a potential growth area.
  • Cable channel Disney XD is currently running about 20 hours a week of Marvel content and Disney has been looking to license more Marvel content and this deal gives them that opportunity as well as the opportunity to expose these characters internationally.<.li>
  • With regards to video game publishing, Disney praised Marvel’s licensing agreements with some of the best video game producers and publishers in the business and said moving forward they will consider what’s best for each individual property as each licensing deal comes up for renewal and that there would likely be a blend of licensed and self-produced/self-distributed titles.
  • With respect to Paramount’s distribution deal with Marvel and the Iron Man franchise, Disney has every intention to respect the deal that’s in place, but noted that it’s in their best interest, overtime, to become the sole distributor of Marvel films.
  • Will Disney3D be used for Marvel movies? That will be determined by those who are in charge of producing Marvel’s theatrical films.
  • When asked if there was potential for cross-polination between Marvel and Pixar, Disney said that Pixar’s John Lasseter has met with key Marvel creative executives recently and the group got “pretty excited, very fast.” Disney will look at all opportunities and thinks there are some exciting product that could come from this sort of partnership.
  • Disney said this deal is expected to benefit Marvel’s retail efforts, being able to leverage Disney’s shelf space and relationships with major chains and distributors.
  • The deal began when Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger reached out to Marvel Chief Executive Ike Perlmutter earlier this year. Again, Disney noted that they believe in the creative team at Marvel and see no reason to upset that applecart.
  • Disney has not made any real estate decisions and sees no reason to move Marvel Studios from their headquarters in Manhattan Beach, California. No mention of Marvel Publishing’s offices in New York City was made.

In addition, Marvel Editor-In-Chief twittering this morning and has made some comments on the deal:

“G' morning, Marvel U! Welcome to this moment in history. Everyone relax, this is incredible news and all is well in the Marvel U.”

“Everybody take a deep breath, all your favorite comics remain unchanged and Tom Brevoort remains grouchy.”

“If you're familiar with the Disney/Pixar relationship, then you'll understand why this is a new dawn for Marvel and the comics industry.”

Developing…


1 comment:

Patrick Herman said...

Hi Cully,

Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know how much I've enjoyed your work over the years. I also wanted to ask if you've every participated in a podcast at any point during your career? I've read a small handful of your interviews, but would like to know more about your background and influences. Maybe Two Morrows Press can do one of their Modern Masters books on you?

Wish you the best. Bye for now.

Sincerely,

Patrick Herman
patrickh69@yahoo.com