Marvel agreement reached

WILMINGTON, Del. — The new management of Marvel Entertainment Group Inc. reached an agreement Thursday with its banks, bondholders and the principal shareholders of Toy Biz Inc. that promises to end months of bitter legal battles and allow the comic giant to emerge from bankruptcy this fall.

Chase Manhattan Bank attorney Thomas Ambro told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Helen Balick that under the agreement, two entities controlled by investor Carl Icahn will buy the $610 million in secured claims that Marvel owes to Chase and other banks.

A group of Marvel bondholders headed by Icahn last month won a prolonged legal battle to take control of the debtor companies.

The group claims that Marvel controls 70% of Toy Biz, which has an exclusive, royalty-free license to make toys based on Marvel’s characters. But the toymaker contends that Marvel’s stake had been reduced to only 27%.

Marvel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last December.

Under the agreement, Marvel will pay its bank creditors $395 million in cash, proceeds from the sale of Marvel subsidiaries Fleer Corp. and Panini SpA, and warrants to buy 10% of a reorganized company that will merge Marvel with Toy Biz.

Fleer and Panini are estimated to fetch between $200 million and $215 million.

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