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Disney CFO: Marvel Acquisition Continues to Pay Off

30 May, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

Between The Avengers last year and Iron Man 3 this year, there’s no doubt Disney spent wisely when it acquired Marvel for $4 billion in 2009.

That’s according to Jay Rasulo, senior EVP and CFO for The Walt Disney Co., who shared his thoughts at the Nomura Global Media & Telecom Summit May 30, regarding the then-questioned deal.

“After we acquired Marvel, going in there was all this untapped [intellectual property],” Rasulo said. “They simply did not have access to the worldwide markets the way Disney does. They were using reps around the world. Anybody in the licensing business knows you pay out 25% of your revenues to be repped by companies around the world. We knew we could sweep all that away, virtually on day one.”

Combining Marvel product with Disney’s content for licenses around the world has made the studio “more powerful,” he added. Disney threw all its marketing might behind both Avengers and Iron Man 3, and the results speak for themselves.

“For two years we were incredibly patient and got asked … about what was going on with Marvel, how the integration was going, when we knew all along that we were setting ourselves up for this huge event, that we believed would have compounding affects on all the feature films for [The Avengers] characters,” Rasulo said. “The plan turned out just like we hoped, and we’re firing on all cylinders.”

An “Avengers” sequel and the “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” TV show are both in the pipeline.

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