The Walt Disney Co announced on Monday it has agreed to buy Marvel Entertainment Inc, whose stable of characters includes "Spider-Man," "Iron Man" and the "X-Men," in a stock and cash deal valued at four billion dollars.
"We believe that adding Marvel to Disney's unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation," Disney president and chief executive Robert Iger said in a statement.
"We are pleased to bring this talent and these great assets to Disney."
Marvel chief executive Ike Perlmutter said Disney is "the perfect home for Marvel's fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses.
"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.," he added.
Besides "Spider-Man," "Iron Man" and the "X-Men," Marvel's cast of over 5,000 characters includes "Captain America," the "Fantastic Four" and "Thor."
Disney and Marvel said Marvel shareholders would receive a total of 30 dollars per share in cash plus approximately 0.745 Disney shares for each Marvel share they own.
It said that based on the closing price of Disney stock on Friday, the transaction value is 50 dollars per Marvel share or approximately four billion dollars.
Perlmutter will continue to oversee the Marvel properties, which include Marvel Studios, Marvel Animation and Marvel Comics, and will "work directly with Disney's global lines of business to build and further integrate Marvel's properties," the statement said.
It said the boards of directors of both companies have approved the transaction but it still needs the green light from anti-trust authorities and Marvel shareholders.