It’s official: according to the AP, Disney is buying Marvel for $4 billion, pending shareholder approval and antitrust review. Some of this surely has to do with so-called ‘corporate strategy’ and ’synergy’ and ‘making money.’ But all of this obscures the real reason for the merger: so comic book geeks on Twitter can make jokes about it.
According to the AP, Disney plans on buying Marvel’s 5000+ characters for $4 billion in cash and stock, or $50 per share. As the Wall Street Journal’s Deal Journal blog notes, this means Disney is putting a robust 29% premium on top of Marvel’s Friday closing price of $38.65 a share. But why?
In a word: synergy. Disney has said that they plan on incorporating Marvel characters into their theme parks; as Newsweek points out, this could put the squeeze on Universal Studios, whose popular Islands of Adventure currently licenses Marvel characters. More importantly, superhero movies have turned into a booming, highly profitable cottage industry. While other studios will hold onto the X-Men, Spider-Man, and Iron Man franchises for the time being, Disney could be reckoning that there are gold mines still untapped among the remaining 4,900 or so characters.
Also, the deal could help Disney ensnare young boys. But in a good way! Sez the New York Times:
Marvel’s intellectual property tends to be more popular with boys — an area where Disney could use the help. While the likes of “Hannah Montana” and the blockbuster Princesses merchandising line have solidified Disney’s hold on little girls, franchises for boys have recently been harder to come by. Disney XD, a new cable channel aimed at boys, could be an immediate home for Marvel characters.
Just as importantly: funny mash-up jokes. Right now, #disneymeetsmarvel and #disneymarvel are two popular topics on Twitter; as you might guess, they predict what will happen now that the Marvel and Disney universes have collided. Here are a few of our favorites:
*”Breaking news: Frank Miller to pen The Darkwing Duck Knight Returns.” (@Farcical)
*Hawkeye Montana (@justinbwilliams)
*That’s So Ronan (@wadcity; +15 obscurity points)
*Dr. Doomlittle (@tanstaaflWDM)
and the best prediction of all:
*”Epcot remains fairly dull.” (@lawcomic)