The Walt Disney Co. said Monday it is buying Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion in cash and stock, bringing such characters as Iron Man and Spider-Man into the family of Mickey Mouse and WALL-E.
Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of 5,000 Marvel characters. Many of them, including the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, were co-created by the comic book legend Stan Lee.
Analyst David Joyce of Miller Tabak & Co. said the acquisition will help Disney appeal to young men who have flocked to theaters to see Marvel's superhero fare in recent years. That contrasts with Disney's recent successes among young women with such fare as 'Hannah Montana' and the Jonas Brothers.
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