Yesterday, shares of Marvel Enterprises
The apparent catalyst for the move was its announcement that it had created a new division to concentrate on video games, to be led by Ames Kirshen, the former Warner Brothers and D.C. Comics video game producer.
At first blush, this looks like a good move. Video games offer increasingly important revenue streams, sometimes even rivaling the movies on which they're based. But as Fool Rick Munarriz pointed out in a discussion of Time Warner's
Even the best games could become an anchor if they suck too many resources away from Marvel's lean licensing machine. Founding Fool David Gardner expressed just such a concern in an email chat, remarking that if this move marked the beginning of a do-it-yourself gaming effort, he would "prefer that Marvel let the video-game makers make video games, and the movie-makers make movies."
But if Marvel sticks to the plan suggested in its press release -- keeping the division small and continuing its licensing model (read: "Let the other guy take risks.") -- the new group offers an opportunity to ensure quality games and leverage even more revenue out of Marvel's character library.
Marvel sits on more current assets than debt and has increasingly strong cash flow. Despite its big gains over the past year, the company looks like it should continue to climb, especially in anticipation of Spider-Man 2's July 2 release. As David put it, "Just because you could have bought it at $6 or $16 or $26 doesn't mean that you shouldn't still find good profit from this investment at this level."
David Gardner has recommended Marvel, Time Warner, and Activision for Motley Fool Stock Advisor. Since the inaugural April 2002 issue, David's total average return is 77.56% vs. the S&P 500's 18.71%.
Seth Jayson owns shares of Marvel and wishes that the spiders in his crawl space would infect him with some kind of cool superpower instead of just freaking him out.