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Be patient: Analysts weigh in on Disney-Marvel

September 1, 2009 | 11:23 am

Media analysts are starting to weigh in with their takes on the Disney-Marvel deal. The general consensus is that it makes sense for Disney, but shareholders may have to wait awhile for a payoff. Of course, preaching patience to shareholders is like trying to get your kids to sleep on Christmas Eve.

"The transaction raises many more questions that need to be answered in the coming months and ... years," according to Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Michael Nathanson. "We are not sure why the company felt the need to do this deal," Nathanson wrote. It's unclear, Nathanson said, what Disney can "immediately do" to add value to the deal since many of Marvel's biggest properties are locked away with rival companies for several years, and a few ("Spider-Man") are in perpetuity. Nathanson is also wary about how this deal puts Disney right back into the DVD business, which Chief Executive Bob Iger has rightfully been bearish on for some time.

That said, Nathanson acknowledges short-term gains to Disney's movie slate and sees strong potential to exploit Marvel products overseas.

Pali Research analyst Rich Greenfield, who is known for his brashness, notes as other have that the deal gives Disney an in with young boys. While Disney has been very strong reaching girls on its cable networks, it needs a boost with boys, and Marvel has the characters and franchises to do that. 

Laura Martin of Soleil echoes many of these concerns and is lowering her earnings-per-share estimate for 2010 to $1.80, from $1.90. Disney's debt may also be downgraded as a result of the deal, Martin warns.

Martin hits it on the head when she writes: "Great CEOs typically manage to longer time frames than Wall Street's."

Isn't that how it's supposed to be?

-- Joe Flint

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