Some links to keep you company with that afternoon cappuccino. The transcript of yesterday’s investor call with Bob Iger is now online.
Staci D Kramer at Paid Content has a good overall look at the deal with some informed speculation:
—Does Marvel have autonomy? Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter will report to Iger. How much after that is written into the fine print could be in the merger agreement, which hasn’t been filed with the SEC yet, but people at both companies familiar with the thinking say a lot is riding on trust—as in “it would be crazy” (a phrase I heard often) for Iger and Disney to do anything that would muck up the creative integrity of a company they’re paying $4 billion to get. The broader deal was still being worked out overnight as Disney and Marvel prepared for Monday’s early announcement, and they have three or four months to work out the fine points. During the pitch to analysts, CFO Tom Staggs said: “We believe in the creative team at Marvel and don’t see any reason to upset the apple cart. They have done a good job, and I think they have got a good pipeline in place, and we expect that they will continue to do a good job operating as they have.”
Hollywood pundits are giving an idea of the picture across town, and if they are to be believed, other studios are wishing they’d thought of it first. Sharon Waxman takes the time to laud Bob Iger and his canny deal making:
Around Hollywood on Monday, Iger’s colleagues were openly envious at his stealth move in buying Marvel, a company that provides exactly the kind of content that a 21st century media conglomerate craves.
Characters and stories – thousands of them, with fan bases to match.
Jeff Bewkes over at Time Warner must be kicking his desk.
Nikki Finke has comprehensive coverage, starting with yesterday’s updates which look at Marvel’s other deals, lawsuits, and so on.
With the whole deal worth $4 billion in cash and stock, a little math shows that Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter, who owns 37% of his public company, stands to reap $1.5 billion in cash and stock. With so much to lose, and the SEC casting a watchful eye, Perlmutter had every reason to keep this negotiation secret from everyone, even intimates who described themselves to me as “completely blindsided”. But they tell me that this sell-out has been the strategy all along of this no-nonsense Israeli. “Ike is the real story here. He’s really operated like the Great Oz behind the scenes, not accessible to the public but always mindful of shareholders. This was always an acquisition play for Ike,” one insider explains to me. “The bottom line is he turned the whole thing around after he fought tooth and nail with Ron Perelman for the company. Today he runs a nifty company that’s tidy on expenses and has no cash flow issues. This deal with Disney just ups his game and creates shareholder value and lets him walk away a billionaire.”
A later post scrutinizes Marvel’s deal’s with Universal, which is going to fight to keep as much as they can to keep the House of Ideas in their theme parks:
I’m told that this is because the Universal-Marvel licensing contract is extremely narrow: Universal has to follow it to the letter, or they risk losing the characters altogether. Universal’s parks group structures contracts so that there’s a master licensing agreement for the Marvel name, and then individual sections for the properties. It’s not a catch-all, you-have-a-blanket-license-to-use-any-Marvel-character-as-you-see-fit-in-your-parks, because Marvel’s not stupid. And because Marvel owns high-profile characters (it’s like this for most non-owned properties), Universal must get approval for any additional/future use of Marvel’s characters so Universal doesn’t use the characters in a way Marvel doesn’t like. For that reason alone, Marvel has a big ol’ out in their contract with regards to future use.
According to Finke’s sources, it’s unlikely that the Marvel Island of Adventures rides will be changed, however. This does look to be an area of continued conflict — kinda like the Skrulls — for some time.
[Thanks to LF for links.]