The worldwide leader in family entertainment is about to get a great deal more entertaining, as the Walt Disney Company agrees to acquire iconic comic book company Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion.
More than 5,000 iconic comic book characters will soon be in the hands of Disney, raising serious questions about the future of Marvel video game titles from Activision, Sega, THQ, and the upcoming MMO from Gazillion Entertainment. Under the terms of the agreement, Disney will pay Marvel shareholders $30 per share for their Marvel stock, plus .745 of a share of Disney stock for each share they own.
"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."
That's Disney's say on the matter, and here is Marvel's, from the official press release:
"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."
Both companies have approved the deal, though it still has to clear the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and various regulatory committees before it can be finalized. Once finalized, Marvel's Perlmutter will continue to oversee Marvel's properties, working with Disney to help integrate the two properties across multiple lines of business.
We're staying on top of the situation, with calls out to Disney, Marvel, Activision, THQ, and Sega for comment on what effects this move will have on Marvel-based video game properties.
Update: Disney discusses what this could mean for video games.