August 31, 2009
Mickey meets Spidey
Disney is acquiring Marvel . About $50 a share, in cash and stock. $4 billion total. (more details in digital edition of THR). A bold move by Mr. Bob Eiger. Sounds pretty cool to me, assuming Disney will be taking good care of the Marvel franchises. I have no reason to believe they won't. I think Disney has done a pretty good job with Pixar since it acquired it.
Shortly after working for Disney I had the opportunity to have an informational meeting with a person at Marvel in New York. I remember arriving at Marvel's offices across the street from the Empire State building in New York and seeing the posters and merchandise all over the place. I also remember how frugal the offices looked. I was told a little bit about the company's culture and there were definitely similarities between the way franchises are managed at both Disney and Marvel.
For Disney, at first sight, I think it is a smart move. It will allow the Burbank-based giant to target a slightly different demographic from its core (kids and tweens) and will give it access to a wide library of Marvel characters, well beyond Spiderman, X-Men or The Hulk, that may be leveraged in different ways, from movies to consumer products or video games.
For Marvel I see this transaction as the culmination of a long comeback process. From being so close to disappearing not so long ago to being bought out by one of the media giants.