Marvel Entertainment, Inc. Business Information, Profile, and History
It is our intention to continue to protect and nurture the growth of the value of the Marvel brand around the globe. This brand provides a powerful point of differentiation in the eyes of the consumer, and therefore an important and overarching competitive edge for our company and our partners. We are firmly committed to building upon this key advantage in the years to come.
History of Marvel Entertainment, Inc.
With over 5,000 proprietary characters in its arsenal, Marvel Entertainment, Inc., is one of the world's leading character-based entertainment companies. Marvel is involved in the creation of feature films, DVD/home videos, video games, and television shows. Its characters are also licensed for use in apparel, toys, collectibles, and snack foods. In addition, Marvel's comic book operations command nearly 50 percent of the comic book market. Falling sales and profits forced Marvel to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1996. Toy Biz Inc. acquired the company in 1998 and adopted the Marvel Enterprises name. The company's name was changed to Marvel Entertainment in 2005.
Toy Biz's Canadian Roots
The history of Toy Biz can be traced to Chantex Inc., a Canadian company created in the late 19th century. Sol Zuckerman, the founder's grandson, inherited the business in 1961, when it was earning $160,000 in sales. The restless 21-year-old maintained the family firm as a core interest, bringing its sales to nearly $4.5 million by 1980. In the meantime, he devoted more of his concentration to the acquisition and operation of several Montreal nightclubs and toyed with the idea of running for public office. Zuckerman's tony discotheques were frequented by celebrities, and he earned a reputation as a fast-talking, fast-moving wheeler-dealer. Zuckerman beat a hasty retreat from the disco scene in 1980, however, after witnessing the assassination of a colleague by letter bomb. In the 1980s, he revisited the infants' and children's goods business that had bored him in years past.
Zuckerman transformed himself into one of Canada's highest-flying merger and acquisition artists during the ensuing decade, and his family business emerged as one of the country's fastest-growing enterprises. In 1980, he merged Chantex Inc. with Earl Takefman's Randim Marketing, Inc., a manufacturer and wholesaler of school supplies, to form Charan Industries Inc. By the time Charan went public in 1984 its annual revenues had multiplied fivefold from 1980, to $20 million. The firm's Charan Toy Co., Inc. subsidiary emerged as a leading toy company with a particular emphasis on licensing. In 1985, it held the Canadian rights to nine of the top ten toys in the North American market, including the immensely popular Cabbage Patch Kids name and logo.
Charan employed what analyst Ira Katzin of Prudential-Bache Securities Canada Ltd. (Toronto) called "a very novel approach" to consumer goods branding, an approach that would be carried on when Charan Toy was reborn as Toy Biz. The company was among the first to implement its brands--both licensed and proprietary--very broadly, applying the venerable Cooper hockey equipment brand (acquired in the mid-1980s) to Charan's existing childrenswear line, for example. This strategy would become commonplace throughout the consumer goods and entertainment industries and form a cornerstone of Toy Biz's success in the 1990s.
Perlmutter Acquisition Reinvigorates Toy Biz
Zuckerman did not see the benefits of these strategies, however, for he sold the toy business in the late 1980s. Charan soon re-emerged as an American-owned company, Toy Biz. In 1990, Toy Biz was acquired by independent investor Isaac Perlmutter, who installed himself as chairman and brought in Joseph Ahern as chief executive officer. Cost controls, innovative licensing agreements, and fresh toy-designing talent allowed the new management team to ride a rising tide of interest in classic comic book characters during the decade.
Trained as an accountant, Ahern had previously worked to bring toymaker Coleco Industries Inc. out of bankruptcy. Ahern's bottom-line focus was reflected in Toy Biz's low overhead. The company owned no real property, instead leasing a modest headquarters in New York City and an Arizona warehouse. It also limited costs by outsourcing most manufacturing to China and concentrating most of its sales efforts on mass merchandisers. This low overhead structure gave Toy Biz a remarkably low employee-to-sales ratio, generating nearly $2 million in annual revenues for each employee in the mid-1990s.
Low overhead was just one factor in Toy Biz's equation for success. As it had been in the 1980s, licensing continued to be an important element of the company's strategy. This time, however, Toy Biz forged a singular agreement with Marvel Entertainment Group, best known for its well-established cast of comic book characters. Instead of signing the short-term (one- to five-year) license typical of the industry--an agreement it had previously utilized--in 1990 Toy Biz exchanged 46 percent of its equity for an "exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free license" to Marvel's characters. Toy Biz focused its earliest efforts on just a few of the series' more than 3,500 characters, especially emphasizing Spider-Man and the Uncanny X-Men.
This strategic alliance was mutually beneficial. For Toy Biz, it eliminated royalties that would otherwise have cost the company anywhere from 6 to 12 percent of its sales of Marvel character toys. Marvel's top-ranked comic books and animated television shows amounted to free advertising for the action figures and other playthings marketed by Toy Biz. Harry De Mott II, an analyst with CS First Boston, told Forbes' Suzanne Oliver that "The cartoons are like a half-hour infomercial for Toy Biz products." And Marvel's stake in Toy Biz gave it much higher returns than it would have made from mere royalties.
Toy designer Avi Arad was yet another element of Toy Biz's success. Over the course of his 20-year career, Arad had a hand in the creation of over 160 toys for such major manufacturers as Mattel Inc., Hasbro, Inc., Tyco Toys, Inc., Nintendo, and Sega. Upon joining Toy Biz on a part-time basis in 1993, Arad received a 10 percent stake in the company in addition to his salary. His 22-person product development staff accounted for about 20 percent of Toy Biz's total employment. As executive producer of animated television programs for Marvel and the creator of toys for Toy Biz, he personally represented the intersection of Marvel and Toy Biz's interests. Arad could, for example, coordinate the launch of characters on television screens and toy store shelves. He specialized in action figures and earned a reputation for combining materials in unique ways. Arad's creativity wasn't limited to cartoons and action figures; his resume included Baby Bubbles and Roller Blade Baby.
Continued Success for Toy Biz
The combination of strict cost controls, an advantageous licensing agreement, and top talent helped Toy Biz achieve the industry's fattest profit margins. Its 24 percent margin topped giant Mattel's profit ratio by over one-fifth in 1995. Furthermore, the Toy Biz/Marvel confederation opened the door to a myriad of other synergistic business opportunities. Marvel Entertainment was just one segment of Ronald O. Perelman's diverse empire, a group that had been launched in 1978 with a $1.9 million bank loan and had by the early 1990s grown to include Revlon Inc., Coleman Worldwide Corporation, Consolidated Cigar Corporation, New World Communications Group, and First Nationwide Bank, among others. Perelman, who was appointed board chairman of Toy Biz in 1995, sought to expand cooperation among his business interests. Toy Biz soon held licenses of a more typical short-term nature for other brands in the Perelman family. The toy company designed and distributed Revlon fashion dolls and Coleman toy camping equipment, for example.
Toy Biz also licensed brands from companies outside the Marvel/Perelman universe. Its Hercules and Zena Warrior Princess action figures were based on the MCA/Universal television series shown on many New World television stations. Licensing agreements with Gerber and NASCAR expanded the company's toy-marketing realm to educational playthings for toddlers and racing-related cars, action figures, and computer games. These powerful trademarks commanded higher retail prices than generic toys, and held sway over quality- and brand-conscious parents as much as children. Popular proprietary Toy Biz toys included Baby Tumbles Surprise, Baby So Real, Wild and Wacky Painter, and Battle Builders.
Toy Biz boasted an impressive arsenal of growth strategies for the years leading up to the turn of the 21st century. At the core of its great potential was the largely-untapped cast of Marvel comic book characters. Noting that the company had started by promoting Marvel's best-known characters, Ahern boasted that "We have only picked the low-hanging fruit." As the marketing cache of these personalities inevitably waned, Toy Biz looked forward to mining the potential of Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Ghost Rider, and literally thousands more characters. Early in 1996 the company launched its Classic Heroes candy division, which marketed candy/toy combinations featuring Marvel characters.
Toy Biz also hoped to benefit from the creation of Marvel Films, a production company expected to be launched in 1997. Led by Avi Arad, this new venture would produce both live action and animated films based on Marvel characters, adding yet another head to the Hydra-like entertainment company. Its first project was expected to feature the Incredible Hulk character.
Toy Biz entered what was expected to be the toy industry's second-fastest growing segment, electronic learning aids (ELA), in 1996. The toy company signed a licensing agreement with Apple Computer that year to produce a line of electronic and soft toys with the Apple name and logo. Toy Biz hoped to benefit from Apple's strong presence in educational computers, and Apple hoped that an association with play would cement its position in the hearts and minds of young consumers and future computer buyers. In addition, Toy Biz augmented its position in the industry through the 1995 acquisition of two toy companies, Spectra Star, Inc. and Quest Aerospace Education, Inc. Spectra Star specialized in kites and yo-yos, while Quest made small model rockets. Toy Biz expected acquisitions such as these to fuel continued growth in the late 1990s.
In spite of all these positive factors, continued prosperity was not a foregone conclusion. The toy industry was very competitive, and Toy Biz was a relatively small player in a world dominated by giants like Mattel, Hasbro, and Tyco. Like all its competitors, Toy Biz was subject to the vagaries of consumer tastes. Corporate executives realized that the leading products and characters of 1996 could be the big losers of 1997. But these general concerns paled in comparison with the issues raised by Ronald Perelman's 1996 bid for full control of Toy Biz. This apparently logical move appeared less prudent in light of Marvel Entertainment's financial difficulties mid-decade. Following a loss on the third quarter of 1996, Marvel slashed one-third of its comic book workforce and sought to restructure over $1 billion in debt. Marvel ended up filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection that year.
History of Marvel
Marvel was founded in the late 1930s by Martin Goodman, a New York publisher of pulp magazines. In 1939, Goodman was convinced by a sales manager for Funnies, Inc., a collection of artists and writers who produced complete comic book packages to be printed and distributed by publishers, that comic books would be a good investment. Funnies, Inc., provided Goodman with material featuring a superhero character, the Sub-Mariner, who was part man and part fish. The title of this experimental venture would eventually become the banner of a pulp empire: Marvel Comics.
In addition to the Sub-Mariner, the first issue of Marvel Comics also featured the Human Torch. Priced at ten cents, it was published in October 1939 and reprinted the following month. Providing colorful, action-packed escapism at the Depression-era price of ten cents an issue, Marvel comic books were an instant success.
Both the Torch and the Sub-Mariner exhibited traits that many Marvel heroes would come to share. They were both flawed protagonists and angry young men. Unlike other comic heroes such as Superman, they were rebels rather than upstanding role models for the youth of America. The Torch and the Sub-Mariner spoke in slang and exhibited adolescent traits, making flip comments while they wreaked havoc.
With the success of his first issues, Goodman became his own one-man staff and formed a new company, Timely Publications. He began publishing two new lines of comics, Daring Mystery Comics, and Mystic Comics, searching endlessly for marketable superheroes who would sell comics issue after issue. In addition, as a result of Goodman's concern about the threat posed by Hitler's Germany, Timely Publications' characters began to combat the Nazis even before the United States formally entered the war. In February 1940, for instance, the Sub-Mariner took on a Nazi U-Boat.
The Rise of Captain America in 1941
In March 1941, Marvel pushed this concept one step further, introducing Captain America to fight the Nazis. With the arrival of this character, Timely's comic books sky-rocketed in popularity, as the first number sold nearly one million copies. Flush with this success, the company inaugurated four new titles in 1941. With the actual U.S. entry into the war that Timely's heroes had been fighting for over a year, much of the company's staff joined the military. Despite the general shortage of manpower, and a later shortage of paper, the comics business boomed during the war.
Around this time, Timely branched out from superheroes to humor, adding Comedy Comics, Joker Comics, and Krazy Komics. In addition, the company produced a number of lines featuring funny animals, which appealed to younger children more than the violent superheroes comics. With this success, Timely expanded its staff and moved its offices to the Empire State Building.
In 1943, the company expanded its audience further when it discovered that teenage girls would purchase comic books directed to them. Miss America featured a female superhero in its first issue, but turned to teen beauty tips in its second, attaining lasting popularity along with Patsy Walker, a serial about dating and dances.
In the wake of the war, the superhero franchise weakened, and the comic book industry as a whole went into a slump. In an effort to revive sales, Timely tried crime comics, cowboy comics, romance titles, and finally, cowboy romance. The old superheroes, the Torch, the Sub-Mariner, and Captain America, were "retired" by 1950.
Despite the death of the old heroes, Timely's operations overall were still going strong. In 1950, the company was producing 82 separate titles--written and drawn by a "bullpen" of company talent--each month. At this time, with the outbreak of the Korean War, Timely also began to produce a new generation of war comics. Created by actual veterans, these issues portrayed war in a new way, showing the pain and misery experienced by the average soldier.
Surviving Challenges in the 1950s
Early in the 1950s, Goodman decided to increase his profits by setting up his own national distribution system, which he called the Atlas News Company. To raise money for this expensive venture, he cut back on office overhead, and switched his staff of writers and artists to freelance status. By the end of 1951, Timely had been converted to Atlas Publishing, and a black and white globe logo was appearing on the front of the company's comic books. In addition to war comics, Atlas published a large number of horror issues, with titles like Adventures into Weird Worlds. In the mid-1950s, the comic book industry came under attack from groups that saw it as a pernicious influence in society. In 1954, the U.S. Senate formed a Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency, which heard testimony in April of that year that comic books were causing violence in society. In a brief spasm of hysteria, customers boycotted stores, comic books were publicly burned, sales plummeted, and a number of comic book producers went out of business. Atlas saw its revenues shrink drastically, and the company moved from its offices in the Empire State Building to smaller quarters at 655 Madison Avenue.
The comic book publishers who survived this crisis, including Atlas, formed the Comics Magazine Association of America in 1955. Immediately, the association set up a censorship board, the Comics Code Authority, whose seal of approval on the front of a comic book guaranteed inoffensiveness (and, many readers believed, blandness). After attaining an all-time high in popularity in the early 1950s, sales of comic books began to drop precipitously.
By 1957, with little product to distribute, Atlas' distribution operations had become a drain on income, and they were shut down. Goodman turned instead to American News Company, another distributor, to place his products in stores and newsstands. With the overall depression in the industry, however, this company soon failed as well, and Goodman was left with no means of distributing his comic books. In desperation, he made a deal with arch-rival D.C. Comics, which agreed to distribute just eight of Goodman's titles a month.
New Characters Bring Success in the 1960s
The company limped along on this basis for three years, until late 1961, when a new idea for a comic book series won widespread popularity and returned the company to financial health. In November, 1961, Goodman's top writer and artist produced The Fantastic Four, which featured a superhero group and concentrated more on the complex personalities of the characters and less on the machinations of plot. Featuring The Thing, Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch, and Invisible Girl, The Fantastic Four was an immediate hit, and fan mail began to pour in.
The debut of The Fantastic Four was followed by the introduction of the Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man, in short order. By 1962, Goodman's company was once again thriving, as baby boomers discovered a new generation of comics heroes. Although the word "Marvel" was not yet appearing on comic books, the company's work bore a small "MC" insignia, and was conceptually linked by the idea that the "Marvel universe" contained all the superheroes, who knew each other and interacted.
In May 1963, Goodman's comic books began bearing the words "Marvel Comics Group" on the cover of its issues in a vertical box, surrounding the head of the superhero in question. Marvel had been the name on the first series of comics the company published, and it now became the focus of the company's promotional efforts.
Throughout the mid-1960s, Marvel continued to introduce new characters, such as the Avengers, the X-Men--and Daredevil, a blind attorney--among others. To capitalize on the popularity of its large stable of superheroes, the company began to merchandise products that featured their images, such as T-shirts, board games, and model kits. In 1966, a half-hour television show called The Marvel Super Heroes was syndicated to stations around the country. The following year, Saturday morning cartoons featuring The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man were introduced on the ABC television network.
By 1968, Marvel was selling 50 million comic books a year. With this strong performance, the company was able to revise its distribution arrangement with D.C. Comics, which had limited production of its own comics, to put out as many different titles as demand warranted. With his valuable franchise established, Goodman sold his businesses in the fall of 1968 to the Perfect Film and Chemical Corporation, which soon changed its name to the Cadence Industries Corporation. Within the structure of Cadence, Goodman's properties were grouped together under one name, Magazine Management.
By 1969, it had become clear that the most recent boom in the comics industry was over. Marvel began to shed titles as sales weakened. In an effort to increase its flexibility, Marvel ended its distribution agreement with D.C. Comics and signed with the Curtis Circulation Company, a large magazine wholesaler, which allowed the publisher greater independence.
Financial Hardships Begin 1970
Marvel experienced a period of instability in the early 1970s, as the company's old guard of editors and corporate executives retired and their replacements came and went. In an effort to shuck off the outdated Comics Code restrictions, Marvel published three anti-drug theme Spider-Man issues that had been suggested by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. When the Comics Code board rejected the issues because rules forbade any mention of drugs at all, Marvel published the comics without the Comics Code seal of approval. This move eventually led to a loosening of restrictions--and was important because comics had begun to lose ground to television and other media.
With fewer prohibitions on subject matter, Marvel began to feature such previously forbidden characters as vampires and werewolves as heroes and villains. The company also began an affirmative action push, including more black characters and more strong female figures. In an effort to make a place for more artistic efforts, Marvel also began to offer black-and-white comics magazines, which were pitched to an older audience than its color comics.
In May 1975, Marvel published Giant-Size X-Men, a special large-format issue that re-introduced the characters which would become the company's most popular franchise. Featuring characters from around the world, the X-Men were designed to be marketed in foreign as well as domestic markets.
Despite the success of this new line, however, Marvel had lost $2 million by the middle of 1975. The company was in bad financial shape. Although Marvel's sales remained strong, its profits had dropped. The comics industry's traditional retail outlets, small community stores, were being replaced by big chain grocery stores which did not carry comics. The number of distribution outlets was shrinking. In addition, paper prices had risen, cutting into earnings. In response to this financial crisis, Cadence installed a new company president, who pared the number of titles produced, firmed up publishing schedules, and reorganized sales and distribution. Throughout the late 1970s, Marvel cut back on expenses and new publications in an effort to remain profitable.
Among Marvel's bright spots during this time was the 1977 hit television series The Incredible Hulk. This suggested that fertile ground for Marvel's future growth might lie in spin-offs from the company's core comics business. In the late 1970s, a number of television shows featuring Marvel characters were created, and Marvel also licensed characters and stories from other sources for its own comics. These moves were motivated as much by desperation as they were by expansionism, because by 1979 the market for comic books had shrunk to an all-time low.
In the early 1980s, Marvel reorganized its somewhat chaotic corporate structure in an effort to recover from this slump, and began to increase its staff and its output. The company had a steady hit with the X-Men franchise, and was also starting to benefit from a change in the way comics were distributed. In the past, comics had been sold on newsstands with a lot of other publications; but with the rise in comic book collecting, stores devoted exclusively to sales of comic books began to open. Between 1981 and 1982, this direct sales market came to account for half of Marvel's sales. Noting this increase, Marvel began to produce special issues to be sold in this market. In addition, the company continued to publish graphic novels, which provided longer and more sophisticated tales of featured heroes.
In 1985, Marvel also moved to include younger children in its market when it produced Star Comics, which featured humor, talking animals, and child characters. These comics were sold to children in mall bookstores, a new outlet for comic book distribution. By the mid-1980s, Marvel was starting to see its circulation rebound, reaching 7.2 million a month by the end of 1984. Sales were driven by the network of 3,000 comics specialty shops that had sprung up. By the end of 1985, Marvel's revenues had reached $100 million, driven in part by licensing agreements for products featuring its characters.
Changes in Ownership: 1986-90
This success attracted the attention of members of the financial industry. In 1986, Marvel was sold to New World Pictures, a movie company that wanted the publisher's stable of characters and animation studio, for $46 million. This move touched off a series of corporate transformations for the company. In November, 1988, New World announced that a series of losses had caused it to sell Marvel to the Andrews Group, Inc., for $82.5 million. The Andrews Group was a subsidiary of a holding company called the McAndrews & Forbes Group, which was owned largely by investor Ronald Perelman.
In June 1991, in an effort to raise $48 million, Marvel announced that it would sell stock to the public for the first time. With this money, the company planned to pay off bank debts and increase publishing, distribution, and licensing operations. As a publicly held company, Marvel also began to step up its marketing activities and diversified into a number of different fields related to its publishing empire.
In September 1992, Marvel purchased the Fleer Corporation, a trading card company, for $265 million. In the spring of 1993, Marvel also invested $7 million to buy 46 percent of Toy Biz, Inc., a New York-based toy manufacturer. The company then hired a top toy designer to make successful action hero toys out of familiar Marvel figures. These characters demonstrated booming popularity in the early 1990s.
By late 1993, Marvel was publishing nearly twice as many titles as it had in 1989. The company's revenues had increased steadily during that time, as distribution expanded to new venues, like record stores and drug stores, and overseas markets opened up. In addition, the company stepped up its efforts to sell space in comic books for advertising, and kicked off a licensing campaign to extend its market into Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Marvel also signed a number of movie deals to support this effort.
In 1993, Marvel declared its ambition to be among the world's top five licensors and set plans in motion to grow its business through acquisition. With a stable of popular characters, and the potential to invent more when the need arose, Marvel appeared to have successfully made the transition from children's publisher to marketing monolith. In 1995, it acquired trading card company SkyBox International. Marvel's success proved short-lived however, and by the mid-1990s sales and profits had come to a screeching halt and the company was drowning in debt from its purchases over the past several years. Marvel was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1996.
The Toy Biz Acquisition in 1998
After Marvel declared bankruptcy, a very heated and public battle for the company ensued. In a deal that seemed to benefit himself, Perelman offered to buy Marvel. Shareholders balked at the 85 cents per share offer, claiming it severely undervalued the company. In 1997, Perelman lost control of the company after the bankruptcy courts gave to the nod to bondholders, allowing them to foreclose on 80 percent of company stock. Bondholders gained control of Marvel's board, ousted Perelman, and elected Carl Icahn to head up the new board. Marvel then unsuccessfully sued Perelman, its banks, and major Toy Biz shareholders, claiming mismanagement had led to its demise.
In December 1997, bankruptcy courts appointed a trustee to oversee Marvel. Icahn was unsuccessful in his attempts to restructure the company and eventually agreed to a reorganization plan in which Marvel would be acquired by Toy Biz. Icahn received stock in the new company as well as a $3.5 million cash payment. Marvel emerged from bankruptcy in October 1998 and Toy Biz changed its name to Marvel Enterprises Inc.
Under the leadership of chairman Morton Handel, Marvel Enterprises prepared to enter the new millennium. It sold its Fleer-SkyBox trading business and its Panini sticker manufacturing unit. It also settled a long-standing dispute with several movie studios and eventually agreed to allow Sony Pictures Entertainment to develop the Spider-Man movie franchise. As part of that deal, Marvel formed a merchandise agreement with Sony Pictures Consumer Products. Spider-Man, released in 2002, raked in over $100 million in just three days after its release. Spider-Man 2 came out two years later and secured $180 million after just five days in theaters. Spider-Man's original creator, Stan Lee, sued Marvel for 10 percent of the profits related to the Spider-Man franchise. Courts ruled in his favor in 2005.
The company adopted the Marvel Entertainment moniker in 2005 as part of its strategy to focus on developing movies, television shows, and video games based on its burgeoning character library. During that year, Marvel landed several licensing deals with publishers to promote the Captain America, Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, The Avengers, and X-Men characters. It also secured rights to be the licensee for the recently released Curious George movie as well as the television series. Marvel formed partnerships with several gaming systems including Xbox, Nintendo, and Playstation to develop character-based accessories.
On the entertainment front, The Fantastic Four movie was released in July 2005. Marvel also formed a multi-picture alliance with Lions Gate's Family Home Entertainment division to develop and produce animated DVD features based on Marvel characters. The company forged an alliance with Antefilms Distribution of France to produce an animated series based on the Fantastic Four. The series was scheduled to launch in 2006.
Isaac Perlmutter, Toy Biz's former chairman, was named Marvel CEO in 2005. The company he now headed was vastly different from the Toy Biz operation he bought in 1990. With an arsenal of 5,000 characters and a highly recognized brand, Marvel Entertainment would no doubt be entertaining a wide range of consumers, moviegoers, gamers, and comic book fans for years to come.
Marvel Characters, Inc.; Marvel Entertainment Group Inc.; Marvel Sales Corp.; MRV, Inc.; Spider-Man Merchandising LP (50%); Compania de Juguetes Mexicanos, S.A. de C.V. (Mexico); Marvel Enterprises International Ltd. (United Kingdom); Toy Biz International Ltd. (Hong Kong; 99%); Marvel Toys Ltd. (Hong Kong); Marvel Enterprises Japan K.K. (Japan).
DC Comics Inc.; Hasbro Inc.; Mattel Inc.
- Key Dates
- 1939 The first issue of Marvel Comics is printed.
- 1941 Marvel introduces Captain America.
- 1961 The Fantastic Four make their debut.
- 1986 Marvel is sold to New World Pictures.
- 1988 New World sells Marvel to the Andrews Group, Inc.; Toy Biz Inc. incorporates in the United States.
- 1990 Isaac Perlmutter buys Toy Biz; company exchanges 46 percent of its equity for an "exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free license" to Marvel's characters.
- 1991 Marvel goes public.
- 1996 Marvel files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
- 1998 Toy Biz acquires Marvel and adopts the Marvel Enterprises name.
- 2005 Company changes its name to Marvel Entertainment.
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