Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World | Marvel Comics | The Titans of Takeover | Distressed Debt Analysis
In the late 1980s, financier Ronald Perelman, worth billions and riding high after his hostile takeover of the cosmetics firm Revlon, bought Marvel Entertainmentâlegendary creator of Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, the X-Men, and other superheroesâand he had big plans. He not only began churning out more comic books, he also acquired sports cards and other subsidiaries, impressing Wall Street so much that after he took the company public, Marvelâs market value ballooned to over $3 billion.
Perelman took advantage of the companyâs inflated valuation by selling junk bonds, and personally pocketing nearly $500 million. Meanwhile, Marvelâs bank debt rose to more than $600 million. And then came the collapse of the comic-book and trading-card markets.
Enter rival corporate raider, Carl Icahn, who sank a fortune into Marvelâs bonds in an effort to wrest away control of Marvelâand to beat Perelman at his own game. As the competing tycoons went head-to-head, Ike Perlmutter and Avi Arad, two entrepreneurs who ran Toy Biz, a company that depended on Marvel superheroes, realized that their fate hung in the balance. They soon put in motion plans to take control themselves.
Bunkered in The Townhouse, his high-security Manhattan corporate headquarters, Perelman had Marvel declare bankruptcy. Icahn, an avid poker player, had to figure out if his foe was bluffing; the Toy Biz entrepreneurs needed to find a way to save the company they loved from ruin; and a team of killer lawyers representing the banks was faced with recouping their colossal debt. Thus, in United States Bankruptcy Court, began the comic warâas ferocious and outlandish as any of Marvelâs tales of good vs. evil.
Combining meticulous investigative reporting with entertaining storytelling, Comic Wars exposes the actions and motives of two Goliath-style corporate raiders, two innovative Davids, and some of the worldâs most prominent banks. It is the rollicking true tale of a unique Wall Street showdown, of Marvelâs surprising emergence from the ashes of bankruptcy, and of its triumphant reinvention as the producer of such hit Hollywood movies as X-Men and Spider-Man.
About: A compelling behind-the-scenes look at the bitter bankruptcy battle over Marvel Comics describes the competition between tycoons Ron Perelman and Carl Icahn over control of the company and the ingenuity of Ike Perlmutter and Avi Arad, the owners of Toy Biz, who outmaneuvered the two powerful moguls.
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