Updated: The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) is buying Marvel Entertainment (NYSE: MVL) and its 5,000-character roster for a cool $4 billion in stock and cash. Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter will stay on to oversee the Marvel properties as part of the deal, which has been approved by both boards but still faces shareholder and regulatory approval. The deal, which would help Disney expand its appeal to boys, was announced before the market opened Monday and the companies hope to close it before year’s end. It’s one of the largest acquisitions in Disney history and has the potential to transform the company. But it will take years in some cases before Disney can do more than reap the licensing fees from some key Marvel characters through its own movies, games and even theme parks. In an interview soon after the announcement, Disney CFO Tom Staggs told paidContent that the licensing “actually underscores the value of these properties.” One major unencumbered character when it comes to movies: Iron Man.
Later, Disney CEO Bob Iger told analysts: “We don