Quick thoughts off the top of my head:
§ Disney has always wanted strong boys properties. They rule the pink world with their princesses, but have had a historic weakness with older boys that they’ve tried to bridge. This is obviously a slam dunk for that.
§ Marvel has been rumored to be for sales for years and years, and Disney was a frequently mentioned potential buyer for the reason cited above. With Marvel making a ton of money and successfully launching their movie studio — and September the usual time for stock plunges, and the market still uncertain, there was never a better time than now.
§ After some tentative starts, Disney had become more enamored of the comics/graphic novel medium of late, including not only their licensing deals with Boom! for kids comics, and Ahmet Zappa’s Kingdom Comics line, but their own in-house comics division. However, the real gem at Marvel was the licensing.
§ Pure speculation: Although Disney has become a lot looser in recent time, launching non-character branded businesses like Hyperion and ESPN, their handling of licensed characters is still pretty traditional — and hugely hugely successful. Although Marvel had risen quickly to become the fourth largest brand worldwide, with $5.7 billion, they are dwarfed by the #1 Company, Disney, which logged $30 billion in licensing revenues.
§ UPDATE: Johanna Draper Calrson offers thoughts on the conference call.
We’ll keep updating this post with reactions as the biggest comics story of, well, the century ripples across the industry.