Disney Acquiring Marvel Entertainment

Market Watch reports that The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Inc. in a stock and cash transaction worth $4 billion.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Marvel including its more than 5,000 Marvel characters including “Iron Man,” “Spider-Man,” “X-Men,” “Captain America,” “Fantastic Four,” “Thor,” “Hulk,” “Sub-Mariner” and of course “The Avengers”

Marvel shareholders will get $30 per share in cash plus 0.745 Disney shares for every Marvel share owned. The boards of Disney and Marvel have both approved the deal, which now needs the backing of Marvel shareholders and competition authorities.

So how will this affect the film franchises? Existing franchises made before the formation of Marvel Studios will almost certainly remain where they are – namely “Daredevil,” “Fantastic Four” and all “X-Men” properties at Fox and “Spider-Man” at Sony.

Marvel’s deal with Paramount must legally continue for at least five more films – this will include “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” “The First Avenger: Captain America,” “The Avengers” and another project.

With this deal any films made after that, and any new Marvel character properties developed, looks likely to be exclusive to Disney. Over time when the contracts expire, the studio aims to eventually be the sole distributor of Marvel properties (ala Warner Bros. and DC). Marvel Studios in Manhattan Beach will likely remain operating as is.