Disney, Marvel form new league

Stan Lee, Creator of Marvel Comics

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Bill Radke: The Walt Disney company announced this morning it's buying Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in cash and stock. On the line is Ken Wilbur, marketing professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. Good morning.

Ken Wilbur: Good morning.

Radke: OK, Ken, let's get this out of the way: "Spidey snared in Mickey's web" . . . "It's a hulking deal" . . . got any more?

Wilbur: Uh, "The hammer of Thor is coming down on the industry."

Radke: Very good, very good, thank you. What is in this for both companies?

Wilbur: Well for Marvel, there's a lot of money in it. If you look at their stock price, this is a very healthy premium that Disney is paying, it's about 25 percent over what the market price on Marvel stock was yesterday afternoon.

Radke: And the stock has, of course, jumped.

Wilbur: Yeah, quite a lot.

Radke: What about for Disney?

Wilbur: For Disney, first reaction is they're locking in stories and character rights for their many movie studios, right? Second reaction, as you think about it a little more, you can see a strategic shift in Disney. I think what this allows them to do is sell to kids as they get older. Maybe kids who aren't necessarily watching the Disney Channel.

Radke: Right. Disney's latest claims to fame have been Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers.

Wilbur: Right.

Radke: What are some of Marvel's properties?

Wilbur: Well, some of their most popular movie franchises so far have been Spiderman and X-Men. Thor is coming out next year and Captain America is moving forward, and we're going to see that in the not too distant future.

Radke: Why haven't these companies come together sooner if it's such a great idea?

Wilbur: My best guess is that it took Disney awhile to recognize that they needed to pay this premium for Marvel. I mean, they're really giving up a lot of money in the deal over the market price for Marvel Comics.

Radke: Will this pass an anti-trust review?

Wilbur: You know, I think if you look at this from a traditional anti-trust perspective, you're not going to see any major reasons to flag this deal. Marvel and Disney, for the most part, don't overlap in their core markets.

Radke: Ken Wilbur is marketing professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. Thanks, Ken.

Wilbur: Thanks for having me.

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