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UPDATED! DISNEY STUDIOS Buys MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT!

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Where in the hell did this come from!? I woke up this morning to the news that the world famous Disney Studios has bought Marvel Entertainment for the price of $4 billion dollars! This gives Disney control of more than 5,000 Marvel characters, which includes Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor. In return, Marvel gets itself a huge marketing infrastructure. Here are the details according to the official press release.

Building on its strategy of delivering quality branded content to people around the world, The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Inc. in a stock and cash transaction, the companies announced today.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney on August 28, 2009, Marvel shareholders would receive a total of $30 per share in cash plus approximately 0.745 Disney shares for each Marvel share they own. At closing, the amount of cash and stock will be adjusted if necessary so that the total value of the Disney stock issued as merger consideration based on its trading value at that time is not less than 40% of the total merger consideration.

Based on the closing price of Disney stock on Friday, August 28, the transaction value is $50 per Marvel share or approximately $4 billion.

"This transaction combines Marvel's strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney's creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories," said Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. "Ike Perlmutter and his team have done an impressive job of nurturing these properties and have created significant value. We are pleased to bring this talent and these great assets to Disney."

"We believe that adding Marvel to Disney's unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation," Iger said.

"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, Marvel's Chief Executive Officer. "This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney's tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world."

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Marvel including its more than 5,000 Marvel characters. Mr. Perlmutter will oversee the Marvel properties, and will work directly with Disney's global lines of business to build and further integrate Marvel's properties.

So what does this all mean for Marvel and their movies? Marvel seems to have been making a lot of smart decisions lately and I don't think it is going make a dent in the plans that they have in development. In fact, it could bring us more of these types of movies in different mediums. Full length animated and CGI animated Marvel movies anyone?

I'm sure we will definitely see more direct-to-DVD videos, both live-action and animated. Marvel had a lot of freedom making their movies while they were on their own. But now that Disney has taken the studio under it's giant mouse ears, will these new Marvel movies end up being Disneyfied? I hope to hell they don't let Jerry Bruckheimer produce any of these films! Of course I fear that all Marvel films both live-action and animated are going to end up up being overly kid -friendly. I've been enjoying what Marvel has been doing, now I don't know what to expect. I guess we'll just have to wait to see how everything is affected. I fear for the worst, but hope for the best. Only time will tell. What do you all think?

It seems that as of right now not much is going to chance except for the film branding. Disney spent $4 million bucks on this thing and I don't think they intend on screwing it up. We will find out a few years a year or two down the line just how much this will affect Marvel.

Updates!


In a conference call, the companies said that the deals for movies for characters at other studios (Spider-Man, X-Men, etc.) will stay in place under the terms set by Marvel and the other studios.

John Lasseter met with Marvel last week about a possible team-up between Marvel and Pixar and got "pretty excited, pretty fast." They say there's definitely an opportunity there. Ok, that would be freakin cool.

The deal with Paramount Pictures to distribute "Iron Man 2," "Thor," "Captain America" and "The Avengers" stays in place as well, but Disney would like to self-distribute down the line. "When the time comes we'll take a closer look at it." It was actually stated that the deal still included five films, so that is one more film after "The Avengers."

Walt Disney President Bob Iger said specifically that Disney will have an “if it ain’t broke…” attitude when it comes to the future of Marvel films. All of the creative control, including use of 3D, which characters will get movies, etc, will remain in the hands of the people who know the Marvel Universe best: the people at Marvel. Disney does not intend to come in and take control of Marvel’s creative world.

JoeQuesada Twitterd some stuff on the matter:

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

I haven't seen this much excitement in the Marvel halls since... well, ever!

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.


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.

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.

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.

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