Shares of Genius Brands International (NASDAQ:GNUS) shed a quarter of their value on Monday after the children's entertainment company said it will launch a major new business.
On July 2, Genius Brands' stock soared after it promised to unveil an "exciting business development" on July 6. Well, today is July 6, and investors apparently weren't so excited about what they heard.
Genius Brands announced that it will create a new joint venture with Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment called Stan Lee Universe. The JV will control the global rights to much of the intellectual property that Lee created after his time at Marvel Entertainment. Genius Brands will serve as the managing and controlling partner of the Stan Lee Universe.
"Stan Lee Universe is a once in a lifetime asset drawn from over 100 original, heretofore unexploited properties, created by the most successful creator of intellectual property of our time," Genius Brands CEO Andy Heyward said in a press release.
There's little doubt that this portfolio of Lee's creations has substantial value. He helped to create many popular superhero characters, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, and The Avengers. Many of his newer creations will also likely prove popular with children.
The question is: How much is this character portfolio worth?
There's no possible way Genius Brands -- with its roughly $55 million in cash reserves -- could have outbid companies like Disney -- which recently raised more than $10 billion via debt offerings -- unless they didn't believe these assets were worth what Genius Brands was willing to pay for them.
So Heyward's grandiose statements regarding the JV -- such as "There simply is no greater treasure chest of intellectual property anywhere" -- seem a little far-fetched, to say the least.
And judging by the stock's plunge today, investors are not nearly as excited about this property as Heyward is.