Studio cements ties with Stan Lee
Mickey Mouse has officially adopted a whole bunch of superhero playmates.Disney closed out 2009 by completing its $4.3 billion acquisition of Marvel Entertainment on Dec. 31. Marvel shareholders did well in the deal, pocketing $30 in cash plus three-quarters of a Disney share for every Marvel share they owned, based on Disney’s Dec. 31 closing price of $32.25. “We believe the creative and business potential of this combination is substantial and can help us grow both our top and bottom line,” Disney prexy-CEO Bob Iger said in announcing the deal’s completion. Disney surprised the showbiz world on Aug. 31 in announcing its acquisition of Marvel, which boasts a vault of more than 5,000 characters and a strong licensing, production and publishing operations. Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter, who stands to reap a big payday for his 37% interest in Marvel, will continue to guide the company for Disney. On the same day the Marvel deal closed, the Mouse cemented its ties to one of the men who built Marvel into a powerhouse, Stan Lee. Disney extended its production partnership with Stan Lee’s Pow Entertainment and has taken a 10% equity stake in the company for $2.5 million. The pact gives Disney enhanced rights to Pow’s projects as well as “certain exclusive consulting services” — suggesting that Disney may want to tap Lee for guidance on how it should handle Marvel catalog of characters and the Mouse’s expanding comicbook publishing activities in general. Disney inked a first-look deal with Pow in mid-2007 and has set up a number of pic projects with the company. Pow and Disney also teamed on the webisode series “Time Jumper,” which bowed in July.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more