FROM RYAN’S NEW DORM ROOM: Oh, hello there. It has been a while. Not only am I back, but I have some news/speculation/rants to share.
It was announced today (31/8/09) that Disney is buying Marvel for around 4 billion dollars (to put that into perspective, Disney is spending around 1 billion to remake Disney’s California Adventure into a worth while park and spent 7.4 billion to buy Pixar). Here’s the actual press release:
DISNEY TO ACQUIRE MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT
Worldwide leader in family entertainment agrees to acquire Marvel and its portfolio of over 5,000 characters
Acquisition highlights Disney’s strategic focus on quality branded content, technological innovation and international expansion to build long-term shareholder value
Burbank, CA and New York, NY, August 31, 2009 —Building on its strategy of delivering quality branded content to people around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:MVL) 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.
The Boards of Directors of Disney and Marvel have each approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, effectiveness of a registration statement with respect to Disney shares issued in the transaction and other customary closing conditions. The agreement will require the approval of Marvel shareholders. Marvel was advised on the transaction by BofA Merrill Lynch.
The amount raises some questions in my mind. Is that all that Marvel is really worth? I understand that the comic industry is having some major issues at the moment, but 4 billion? That’s a steal considering how expensive Pixar was! The internet is abuzz with people either stating that Disney is going to ruin Marvel (I propose that it was all Stan Lee’s horrible writing, but that’s besides the point) and that it marks the end of the comic industry as we know it or that it is the second coming.
I personally think that this will end up being a good thing for both parties (but not for Universal, but more on that later). When Disney absorbed Pixar into it’s ever expanding empire, the mouse kept it’s hands off of John Lasseter’s baby. Pixar continued to be Pixar and continued to create the pinnacle of American cinema and has only gotten better with time, with Disney just controlling the distribution and the massive merchandising blitzkriegs. I forsee that the situation with Marvel will be the same. I just hope that Disney will use this venture to make more Disney comics and that the Marvel animated films will actually be worth a viewing. But seriously, the world needs more Uncle Scrooge comics on the level of the Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.
Another aspect of this merger that people are raising a shit-storm about is what is going to happen to the Marvel video games when the licenses are up with Activision, THQ, and Sega. Considering that every Marvel game that isn’t Marvel VS Capcom 2, Marvel Ultimate Alliance (Ultimate Alliance 2 looks freaking awesome, by the way), X-Men Legends, and Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction has been unmitigated shite, I don’t give a crap. Disney will most likely just buy up the licenses and continue to make abysmal super hero games with a few diamonds in the sea of poop.
What really interests me is the future of Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando. With Disney now having control of the reigns, might this land be going away? I kind of hope so. Imagine the Marvel characters coming to the Hollywood Studios, or possibly even getting their own park at Walt Disney World? Having the Imagineers designing the area would enable there to be a lot more coherence to the whole area and the thought of being able to ride the Amazing Adventures of Spider Man at a Disney park is just too awesome to be believed.
This is of course, all arm-chair speculation. I would assume that Disney, Marvel, and Universal will be in talks for the next few months trying to work out some sort of agreement, but the future installations of the Spider Man attraction (in Singapore, Dubai, and South Korea) are all probably in production hell right now and will most likely be there for a while. If Universal were to lose the rights to the Marvel characters, I would forsee that the addition of the Harry Potter characters to the Islands of Adventure park might be able to offset the increased amount of people going to Walt Disney World for the new Marvel attractions.
I will probably update this article as new news is announced, but as stated above, all of this (besides the actual acquisition news) is all speculation and should be regarded as such.