Disney Buys Marvel!

I know – what?! Well, it’s not April Fool’s Day and CBR and Newsarama are reporting it. The rather boring press release below doesn’t really reveal a lot, but I think it’s a good thing, as long as Joe Quesada still remains in charge and X-Men won’t be filled with princesses and singing animals. I’m sure Marvel will have plenty to say about this in the coming days, and I can already sense fanboys in a spin. The loose link is that Disney characters have been in comics for decades, and Mickey Mouse and pals are now being published by BOOM! Studios, and they’re making the Surrogates film based on the Top Shelf comic. Still – wow. DC Comics  is owned by Warner Bros. and now this. The two largest English speaking comic book publishers on the planet are now owned by multi-national corporations. Is that a good thing? Check out Disney CEO Robert A. Iger’s official video announcement here.

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.

Building on its strategy of delivering quality branded content to people around the world, The Walt DisneyCompany (DIS) has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (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.

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