In a move that has both surprised and bemused commentators, analysts and audiences worldwide, The Walt Disney Company announced yesterday that it would be purchasing comic giant Marvel in a stock-and-cash deal worth approximately $4 billion.
“Disney is the perfect home for Marvel’s fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses,” said Ike Perlmutter, the chief executive officer at Marvel in a statement given to The New York Times that announced the deal. “This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney’s tremendous global organisation and infrastructure around the world.”
The deal is said to comprise of no less than 40 per cent of Disney stock, which is valued at 0.745 Disney shares to every one Marvel share. The Times report states that the former will pay $30 for every Marvel share not swapped for their own. This deal not only covers the publishing arm of Marvel, but also Marvel Entertainment, which has financed and produced big-screen adaptations of its own properties such as Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Current deals in place with major studios, such as Paramount’s distribution rights to Thor, Captain America, Iron Man 2 and The Avengers will remain in place, but Disney will bring all feature film production under its own auspices once those agreements expire.
Marvel was formed in 1939 under the name of Timely Publications, and has since grown to become one of the most successful publishing houses in history, being in control of such household names as Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. The Walt Disney Company was formed in 1923 by brothers Walt and Roy Disney, and is currently one of the largest studios in the modern era, owning the rights to characters such as Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, as well as television networks such as ABC and a feature film wing. This deal surely makes it one of, if not the, pre-eminent entertainment media companies in the world.