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Marvel Is Never Getting Spider-Man Back -- Here's Why

How crazy are fans for comic-book movies? Hours after activist investor Daniel Loeb released a letter arguing that Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) should make better use of its entertainment assets, the Internet was ablaze with rumors that the company might sell the rights to make Spider-Man movies back to Marvel and parent Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) . Sony has since said it plans to consider Loeb's proposal yet makes no mention of disposing any of its assets.

It's hard to blame fans for getting the story wrong. Spidey is Marvel's most visible character, and Loeb is Sony's largest shareholder through his fund, Third Point LLC. He wants the company raising capital for bolstering Sony's important-but-beleaguered electronics division. An asset sale would be a natural option, says Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova in the following video.

Unfortunately, Loeb's idea is more complicated. He wants to take 15% to 20% of Sony Entertainment public and make the resulting stock available primarily to management as a carrot to boost performance of movie assets such as The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which is filming now.

Surprised? Don't be. Last year, Disney agreed to forfeit Marvel's claim to Spider-Man film rights in exchange for 100% of the merchandising haul. Disney might gain some influence were it to buy into a Sony Entertainment IPO, but that's presuming Sony executives take Loeb's proposal serious enough to go through with an offering. And that's anything but a guarantee, Tim says.

Do you agree? Please watch to get Tim's full take, and then leave a comment to let us know how you would unlock Spidey's big-screen value.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 30, 2013, at 11:16 PM, esxokm wrote:


    I think that's an intriguing idea, but to me, it seems as if making the deals for the crossover would probably get too complex. It would almost be like going back to the complexity of the joint partnership for merchandising.

    One has to wonder what Disney would be willing to pay to buy back the rights to Spider-man. Sony actually should try to sell them back because it would reduce the company's exposure and risk to increasing tentpole budgets while placing the property in the hands of execs that would most likely get a better return on investment. Even $250 million might be worth it.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 12:10 AM, TheDarkestCorner wrote:

    If Disney has the means, they should certainly get their foot in the door with Sony's stock offer.

    Spider-man is Marvel's lead icon just a Superman is for DC.

    These characters have no trouble interacting in comics and it's disappointing to see them split up in the movies.

    Heck, Spidey is a current member of the Avengers in the books. He at least deserves a cameo in the next Avengers film.

    Even though Disney messed up Iron Man's greatest enemy, The Mandarin, I think all Marvel characters need to be under one house...the House of Mouse.

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