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"It is a mini-Disney in terms of intellectual property," said Perelman. "Disney's got much more highly recognized characters and softer characters, whereas our characters are termed action heroes. But at Marvel we are now in the business of the creation and marketing of characters."
Public offering and acquisition
Marvel made an initial public offering of 40% of the stock (ticker symbol NYSE:MRV) on July 15, 1991, giving $40 million from the proceeds to Andrews Group, Marvel's then direct parent corporation within MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings.
In the early 1990s, Marvel Entertainment Group began expanding though acquisitions and the formation of new divisions. Marvel purchased the trading card company Fleer on July 24, 1992. On April 30, 1993, Marvel acquired 46% of ToyBiz, which gave the company the rights to make Marvel toys. The Andrews Group named Avi Arad of ToyBiz as the president and CEO of the Marvel Films division.
In 1993 and 1994, Marvel's holding companies, Marvel Holdings, Inc. and Marvel Parent Holdings, Inc., were formed between Andrews Group and MEG. The companies issued over half a billion dollars in bonds under the direction of Perelman, which was passed up in dividends to Perelman's group of companies. Marvel acquired Panini Group, an Italian sticker-maker, and Heroes World Distribution, a regional distributor to comic-book shops, in 1994. It acquired trading card company SkyBox International in 1995.
Marvel's attempt to distribute its products directly led to a decrease in sales and aggravated the losses which Marvel suffered when the comic book bubble popped, the 1994 Major League Baseball strike massacred the profits of the Fleer unit, and Panini, whose revenue depended largely on Disney licensing, was hobbled by poor Disney showings at the box office.
Bankruptcy and Marvel Studios
In late 1995, Marvel reported its first annual loss under Perelman, which was attributed mainly to the company's large size and a shrinking market. On January 4, 1996 Marvel laid off 275 employees.
In late 1996, Perelman proposed a plan to save Marvel in which the company would merge with Toy Biz after Perelman spent $350 million for the Toy Biz shares that he didn't already own. He would then receive newly issued Marvel shares to maintain his 80 percent stake.
In December 1996, the Marvel group of companies filed for bankruptcy. At this time, Carl Icahn, an American businessman and investor, began buying Marvel's bonds at 20% of their value and moved to block Perelman's plan. In February 1997, Icahn won the bankruptcy court's approval to take control of the company's stock. Later, in June 1997, Icahn won the right to replace Marvel's board, including Perelman.
In December 1997, during the post-bankruptcy reorganization phase, Toy Biz came to an agreement to purchase Marvel from the banks. In December 1997, the bankruptcy court appointed a trustee to oversee the company in place of Ichan. In April 1998, while the legal battle continued, the NYSE delisted Marvel stock.
In August 2008, former company head Ronald Perelman paid $80 million to settle a lawsuit accusing him of helping divert $553.5 million in notes when he controlled the company.
ToyBiz and Marvel Entertainment Group were merged into Marvel Enterprises to bring it out of bankruptcy in June 1998. In February 1999, Fleer/Skybox was sold to a corporation owned by Alex and Roger Grass, a father and son, for US$30 million.
Later, the rights to names like "Spider-Man" were being challenged. Toy Biz hired an attorney to review its license agreement. Los Angeles patent attorney Carole E. Handler found a legal loophole in the licensing of the Marvel name and was successful in reclaiming Marvel Enterprises' movie rights to its character Spider-Man.
Marvel Enterprise organized itself into four major units, Marvel Studios, Toy Biz, Licensing and Publishing, while in November 1999 adding Marvel Characters Group to manage Marvel's IP and oversee marketing. Marvel named its Marvel New Media president, Steve Milo, in November 2000 to oversee its website.
In 2003, Bill Stine purchased back Quest Aerospace, a 1995 Toy Biz acquisition, from Marvel. In summer 2003, Marvel placed an offer for Artisan Entertainment. A new unit, Marvel International, was set up in London under a president, Bruno Maglione, to extend the company's operation and presence in major overseas markets in November 2003. In December 2003, Marvel Entertainment acquired Cover Concepts from Hearst Communications, Inc. In November 2004, Marvel consolidated its children's sleepwear-apparel licensing business with American Marketing Enterprises, Inc.
In November 2004, the corporation sued South Korea-based NCSoft Corp. and San Jose, California-based Cryptic Studios Inc. over possible trademark infringement in their City of Heroes massive multiplayer online game. Marvel settled a film-royalties lawsuit in April 2005 with its former editor-in-chief, publisher and creator, Stan Lee, paying him $10 million and negotiating an end to his royalties.
In September 2005, Marvel Enterprises changed its name to Marvel Entertainment to reflect the corporation's expansion into financing its own movie slate.
In 2007, several Stan Lee Media related groups filed lawsuits against Marvel Entertainment for $1 billion and for Lee's Marvel creations in multiple states, most of which have been dismissed. Additionally, a lawsuit over ownership of the character Ghost Rider was filed on March 30, 2007, by Gary Friedrich and Gary Friedrich Enterprises, Inc.
Disney subsidiary (2009-present)
On August 31, 2009, The Walt Disney Company announced a deal to acquire Marvel Entertainment for $4.24 billion, with Marvel shareholders to receive $30 and approximately 0.745 Disney shares for each share of Marvel they own. The voting occurred on December 31, 2009 and the merger was approved. The acquisition of Marvel was finalized hours after the shareholder vote, therefore giving Disney full ownership of Marvel Entertainment. The company was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange under its ticker symbol (MVL), due to the closing of the deal.
On June 2, 2010 Marvel announced that it promoted Joe Quesada to Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment. In June 2010, Marvel set up a television division headed by Jeph Loeb as executive vice president. Three months later, Smith & Tinker licensed from Marvel the character rights for a superhero digital collectible game for Facebook and Apple's mobile platform. On October 1, 2010, Marvel moved its offices to a 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) suite at 135 W. 50th Street, New York City, New York, under a nine-year sublease contract.
Marvel president of TV, publishing and brand Dan Buckley was promoted to Marvel Entertainment president in January 2017 adding games, global brand management and the franchise groups to his current responsibilities. In October 2017, Ron Richards began working at Marvel Entertainment as Vice President and Managing Editor of New Media. Marvel New Media expanded into a new field with the development of a scripted podcast series, Wolverine: The Long Night, announced on December 5, 2017.
On December 7, 2017, Marvel announced its Marvel Rising franchise focusing on new characters as youngsters starting with animation in 2018. Marvel Comics is expected to publish material for Marvel Rising, but delayed any announcement on their material.
In May 2018, The Walt Disney Company Australia purchased eight year naming rights to Docklands Stadium from Melbourne Stadiums Limited and selected the Marvel brand as part of the name. Since September 1, 2018, the stadium has been known commercially as Marvel Stadium. A Marvel retail store and other inclusion of Marvel would be added to the stadium.
In October 2019, Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige was named Marvel Chief Creative Officer, overseeing all the creative affairs within Marvel Entertainment in addition to Marvel Studios. Under the structure, Marvel Television and Marvel Family Entertainment (animation) moved to Marvel Studios, with Marvel Entertainment president Dan Buckley reporting to Feige.
The company's operating units, as of 2015, include:
Marvel New Media (also called Marvel Digital) unit consists of the company's website, online video series and podcast. Digital shows under New Media are THWIP! The Big Marvel Show, The Marvel Minute, Marvel LIVE! and Marvel Top 10.
In October 2017, Ron Richards began working at Marvel Entertainment as Vice President and Managing Editor of New Media, while Marvel Digital freelance on-air host Lorraine Cink was hired as Senior Creative Producer. Marvel New Media expanded into a new field with the development of a scripted podcast series, Wolverine: The Long Night, announced on December 5, 2017.
On April 7, 2018 at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, Marvel New Media announced its new slate. Marvel named Shane Rahmani as senior vice president and general manager of new media in March 2019. On April 10, 2019, a slate of 10 unscripted series including two from Marvel New Media was revealed for Disney+.
Earth's Mightiest Show (March 2018-) A weekly variety web-series focusing on fandom and Marvel culture
Marvel's Hero Project (TBA) produced with Maggievision Productions for Disney+; documents youngsters effecting their local communities
Marvel's 616 working title (TBA) produced with Supper Club for Disney+; anthology documentary series feature the intersection between Marvel's stories, characters and creators and the real world
Marvel's Storyboards(November 12, 2019-) for Disney+; is hosted by Joe Quesada, CCO of Marvel Entertainment, where he interviews guests from various backgrounds to get to know their story with an expected around a dozen 10 to 15 minutes long episodes.
^ abcd"Marvel Entertainment FORM 8-K". RealDealDocs. 29 September 2006. p. 6. Retrieved 2012. Sec.3 (d) a fully-executed assignment agreement, in substantially the form of the Assignment Agreement dated as of August 30, 2005 by and among MEI, Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc. and MCI, assigning MEI's, Marvel Property, Inc.'s (formerly known as Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc.) and MVL Development LLC's rights in the Unencumbered Characters to MCI;
^A minority of dissidents maintain no bubble existed. Rozanski, Chuck. "The Vicious Downward Spiral of the 1990s". Tales from the Database. Mile High comics. Archived from the original on May 11, 2007. Retrieved .CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
^Lott, Jeremy (2002). "Smash! Pow! Bam!". Reason. Archived from the original on May 11, 2007. Retrieved .CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
^Marvel AnimationArchived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine Entity Information. Corporation & Business Entity Database. Division of Corporations, State Records and Uniform Commercial Code. New York State Department of State. Retrieved November 11, 2013.