The Walt Disney Company has acquired comic book giant and animation studio Marvel Entertainment for US$4 billion, in a move that will have wide ranging ramifications for the television industry, in particular the company’s kids channel Disney XD.
The move sees Disney pay $50 per Marvel share in a combination of cash and stock for Marvel’s library of superhero characters including Spider Man, Iron Man and Captain America.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the deal will allow it to expand production of Marvel-produced series for its recently launched Disney XD channel, allowing it to ramp up its boy skewing content.
“We already work with Marvel on our animated channel Disney XD and we can expand that and expand it internationally. It’s very popular with boys,” he said in a conference call.
Marvel currently produces The Spectacular Spider Man series for Disney XD, which is available in the US and is currently rolling out internationally. While it also produces series for rival networks including Wolverine and the X-Men and Iron Man: Armored Adventures for Nickelodeon, The Super Hero Squad for Cartoon Network and Black Panther for BET, it is expected that its latest launches, including Thor and The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, will be produced for Disney XD.