- Disney bought Marvel in 2009 for $US4 billion, but it could have done it earlier if executives hadn’t objected.
Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that his predecessor, former CEO Michael Eisner, wanted to buy Marvel in Iger’s new book, “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company.”
- Iger, who became CEO in 2005, wrote that “a handful of executives” thought Marvel was “too edgy” and “would tarnish the Disney brand.”
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Since Disney acquired Marvel in 2009 for $US4 billion, it has become one of the Mouse House’s most lucrative assets thanks to the box-office success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But Disney could have bought Marvel even earlier if some executives didn’t have objections.
In Bob Iger’s new book, “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company,” the Disney CEO revealed that his predecessor, former CEO Michael Eisner, wanted to buy Marvel.
“Early in my time working for Michael, I attended a staff lunch in which he floated the idea of acquiring [Marvel]; a handful of executives around the table objected,” Iger wrote.
Iger wrote that the executives thought Marvel was “too edgy” for Disney.
“It would tarnish the Disney brand,” Iger wrote. “There was an assumption at the time – internally, and among members of the board – that Disney was a single, monolithic brand, and all of our businesses existed beneath the Disney umbrella. I sensed Michael knew better, but any negative reaction to the brand, or suggestion that it wasn’t being managed well, he took personally.”
When Iger, who became CEO in 2005, wanted to buy Marvel, he enlisted the help of his friend and Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, who was a member of the Walt Disney Company board.
Iger wrote in the book that he asked Jobs to reach out to Marvel’s chairman and former CEO Ike Perlmutter to “vouch for me.”
“Later, after we’d closed the deal, Ike told me that he’d still had his doubts and the call from Steve made a big difference,” Iger said. “‘He said you were true to your word,’ Ike said. I was grateful that Steve was willing to do it as a friend, really, more than as the most influential member of our board.”
The MCU had grossed over $US22.5 billion worldwide over 23 movies and “Avengers: Endgame” is the biggest movie of all time with $US2.8 billion globally.
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