Walt Disney’s $4 billion offer for Marvel Entertainment would give it more than 5,000 comic book characters, including such mighty heroes as Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four. Disney’s Bob Iger told CNBC that the expanded roster will help bring more boys to the home of the Magic Kingdom, where Snow White, Cinderella and the Little Mermaid have long reigned supreme.
The cash and stock deal values Marvel at $50 per share, or a premium of 29 percent to Marvel’s closing stock price of $38.65 on Friday. The deal has been approved by the boards of both companies, and since Marvel’s CEO, Isaac Perlmutter, is also the largest shareholder of the company, it’s likely a done deal.
Marvel’s second quarter was a mighty one. It beat market estimates on strong DVD and pay TV sales of “Iron Man,” sending its shares to an all-time high. This year has been a lull for Marvel, with no new film releases due until 2010, when Iron Man 2 hits screens. Thor and the first Avenger movie, as well as Sony-produced “Spider-Man 4,” are slated for a 2011 release and an “Avengers” sequel is due in 2012.
Is this a game changer for Disney’s foes? Marvel rival DC Comics, with its stable of Batman, Watchmen and other, darker comic champions, is already a part of Time Warner. For the fantastic leap comic books have made to the big screen, this could be the last hurrah.