Today, The Walt Disney Company and Marvel Entertainment, Inc. have announced the sale of Marvel to the media giant. The cash and stock transaction is estimated to be approximately $4 billion in exchange for full rights to all of Marvel's characters.
Marvel's main competitor, DC Comics, is currently a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Entertainment. Although Marvel has managed to generate significant successes with its Marvel Studios productions (X-Men, Spider-Man, Iron Man, etc.), it comes as no surprise to industry watchers that they have now been acquired by a multinational entertainment conglomerate.
Some folks think that Disney's acquisition represents an interest in redefining their image to be more appealing to teenage boys. They have struggled to produce content and products that appeal to that demographic, which Marvel does quite well.
Michael Corkery of the Wall Street Journal sees the deal as a sign that companies with the means to do so are beginning to shift from defensive to offensive deal-making, particularly in light of both Marvel and Disney's comments indicating that neither felt pressured to go into the deal. However, not everyone is so optimistic, and already Standard & Poor's has indicated that they may downgrade Disney's ratings as a result of the transaction.