On Friday, shares of Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick Marvel Enterprises
The terse paragraph states that the settlement puts to rest all of the pending litigation, calling the resolution "amicable." At issue were the lucrative spoils from the Spider-Man movie series, which were tangled up in various lawsuits alleging attempted appropriation of the Spider-Man franchise and fraud through "Hollywood accounting."
It's difficult to predict the exact impact this settlement will have on the firm's fantastic financials. The statement makes a vague prediction of increased revenues as well as operating expenses, but discloses no details and maintains the firm's prior financial guidance. Talk about a letdown. Maybe this explains the lackluster response by the market this morning.
At the very least, this action will remove the headache of the firm's biggest legal challenge and pave the way for better relations with Sony Pictures Entertainment, which is, after all, slated to work on Spider-Man 3, Luke Cage, and Ghost Rider. It also clears the only storm cloud that was lurking over the otherwise sunny projections for the June 30 release of Spider-Man 2.
Of course, a character licensor like Marvel is always likely to be entangled in some kind of dispute. As of this year's annual report, the firm was still involved in lawsuits with comic-book retailers, Tribune
But given its high-margin deals with manufacturers of every kind -- visit your neighborhood grocery to get a glimpse of what I mean -- plus a new foray into direct-to-DVD movies, these legal squabbles look like mere speed bumps on Marvel's road to becoming a debt-free entertainment powerhouse.
Wondering how the web-slinger will handle Doc Ock? Speculate on the Fool's Marvel discussion board.