• Marvel Entertainment stockholders approved the company’s merger with Disney at a special meeting held last Thursday (31st December). Under the agreement, valued at an estimated $4.3 billion, Marvel becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Disney. Whether this will ultimately have any impact on Panini’s license to publish Marvel material in the UK, given that Disney’s preferred European publishing partner would seem to be Egmont, remains unknown at this time.
• As well as acquiring Marvel, media site Cynopsis reports that Disney has developed its existing relationship with Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment (Purveyors of Wonder) by taking a 10% equity stake in POW! for $2.5 million. Disney entered into a first look deal with POW! in 2007, and under the new deal includes enhanced rights to the creative output of POW! and certain exclusive consulting services.
• Is Apple’s long-rumours iTablet about to be announced? The Financial Times reported that the company has booked the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco on 26th January to make a special announcement to the media and is widely expected to unveil a tablet-style touch screen computer that presents videos, magazines and newspapers with a iPhone-like interface. The New York Times published some detailed titbits about the device just before Christmas, reporting that Apple supremo Steve Jobs is apparently very happy with the device – which may launch as iSlate.
Apparently, if you have an iPhone, you’re carrying around a mini version of an early Apple tablet. Expect the first iTablets/iSlates to be shipped in March, according to this rumour round up.