spiderman 290 Disney to buy Marvel to appeal to boysMickey Mouse is taking on Spider-Man.

Walt Disney Co. announced Monday that it will acquire Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion, which would give ownership to over its more than 5,000 characters, including the webslinger himself, Iron Man, Hulk and The X-Men.

“Disney is the perfect home for Marvel’s fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses,” says Ike Perlmutter, Marvel’s Chief Executive Officer.  “This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney’s tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world.”

The acquisition will help Disney’s appeal to young boys, a demographic that has been competitive with rivals Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. Disney already has the young girls’ market covered with great success with the Disney Princesses line and Hannah Montana.

Already, the Marvel movie machine has several projects in the works. “Iron Man 2” is due to hit theaters in May 2010, while “Spider-Man 4,” “Thor” and the first “Avengers” movie are scheduled for the following years.

Before the deal goes through, an antitrust review and the approval of Marvel shareholders will be required.

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Posted by:Hanh Nguyen