Marvel Enterprises Case Study

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Case Reading: Marvel Enterprises, Inc.

1. In your view, what strategic direction should Marvel Enterprises’ Vice Chairman Peter Cuneo and his colleagues pursue? Why? How?
• I believe the company should focus on developing their lesser-known characters and making them known to their audiences. Granted they now have the resources to expand beyond the current business model to take on more capital-intensive activities, their efforts may be in vein if they don’t have well-developed characters to feature in future ventures.

2. Why was Marvel’s turnaround so successful? Would you characterize that success as a fluke? Or do you view it as sustainable? Why? How?
• As opposed to taking on additional debt to acquire new capital, they refocused their attention to better manage their library of characters to foster long-term growth
• By licensing their characters for use in various media products they didn’t limit themselves to a single media outlet; allowed Marvel to be successful because activities in these areas often reinforced each other
• They retained some form of control over the creative process to ensure quality of the content that featured their characters; this helped to maintain consistency in characters and stories
• Marvel’s turnaround success was driven by better management of assets; whereas Marvel had previously capitalized on “speculative frenzy among collectors” by increasing number of titles at double the prices, the new board refocused their efforts on reestablishing quality
• I view Marvel’s success as being sustainable because there is and always will be a large market for comic books and toys, especially among young boys

3. How important are each of Marvel’s three divisions – comic books, toys, and licensing – to it past and future performance?
• Comic books: important for both past and future performance o Past performance: periodicals accounted for close to 90% of market sales in 2003, giving Marvel a 40% market share

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