Disney bought Marvel in 2009 for $4 billion, but it may not have happened if it weren't for Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.
In a Vanity Fair excerpt from Bob Iger's new book, "The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company," the Disney CEO recalled his friendship with Jobs and revealed how Jobs had an essential role in pushing Marvel Disney's way.
"In 2009, after our very successful acquisition of Pixar, we were interested in acquiring Marvel, so I met with Steve and walked him through the business," Iger said. "He claimed to have never read a comic book in his life ('I hate them more than I hate video games,' he told me), so I brought an encyclopedia of Marvel characters with me to explain the universe to him and show him what we would be buying. He spent about 10 seconds looking at it, then pushed it aside and said, 'Is this one important to you? Do you really want it? Is it another Pixar?'"
Jobs was the majority shareholder of Pixar, which Disney acquired in 2006. He was also a board member of The Walt Disney Company.
"I told [Jobs] that I wasn't sure if it was another Pixar, but they had great talent at the company, and the content was so rich that if we held the IP, it would put some real distance between us and everyone else," Iger said.
Iger said that he asked Jobs to reach out to Marvel's chairman and former CEO Ike Perlmutter to "vouch for me."
"Later, after we'd closed the deal, Ike told me that he'd still had his doubts and the call from Steve made a big difference," Iger said. "'He said you were true to your word,' Ike said. I was grateful that Steve was willing to do it as a friend, really, more than as the most influential member of our board."
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grossed over $22.5 billion worldwide over 23 movies (the first few of which were distributed by Paramount). It's safe to say the deal paid off and then some.