The House of Mouse Just Bought the House of Ideas: Disney/Marvel

Quint here. Also check out this Tweet from Marvel's Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada:

JoeQuesada: 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.

Could Marvel really have the same degree of freedom that John Lasseter and Pixar have? I mean, they literally put Lasseter in charge when that deal happened. Curious, but good news!

Merrick again...

The following is from ComingSoon.Net (HERE), pertaining to details revealed during a stock holder conference call if I'm not mistaken.

UPDATE #1: 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.

UPDATE #2: 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.

UPDATE #3: 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."

Thanks to Talkbacker Garbage Man for the heads up...

Merrick here...

Disney is moving assimilate Marvel and "and its portfolio of over 5,000 characters" for approx $4 billion.

Here's a snippet of a press release found at Disney's corporate site (HERE).

August 31, 2009
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.

More merger information can be found via the Wall Street Journal HERE.

I'm really not sure what to say here, except 1) I smell some interesting theme park rides in our future, and 2) I wonder who would win in a fight between Iron Man and Emperor Zurg?

There are so many questions here: what does this mean for comics-to-film/TV projects currently in development? I'm assuming many will move FWD as contracted/planned, but future installments (sequels and what not) could end up being bounced back to Disney? I.e. IRON MAN 2 is clearly being issued by Paramount, but might IRON MAN 3 potentially be a Disney release? Would HULK remain a Universal interest, or will Mickey now have his way with him? I'm guessing this will differ on a case by case basis - informed by whatever agreements are currently in place? How does this impact Disney's synergy with companies like Pixar? Will we now see Marvel-based CG extravaganzas? Or, if Pixar's gravitating towards live action...? And, to what extent will Marvel remain relatively autonimouse (sorry, I couldn't resist)?

Someone explain before my head explodes!

We'll UPDATE as more details become available...

Especially pay attention to that quote from Joe Quesada. When Pixar was bought, it essentially meant that Pixar took over Disney. I don't think that's what we're looking at, but this may leave Marvel's head brass (and John Lassiter of Pixar) with even more say over their projects than they've had in recent years.

If Disney can re-collect the rights to some of these extended properties (Spider-Man, FF, X-Men) and allow them to join the Avengers, Iron Man and Hulk in the currently in progress Marvel Movie Universe, this could be the best deal ever for Comic fans.