Walt Disney announced on Monday its acquisition of Marvel Entertainment in a $4 billion deal. Both sides stand to benefit. Marvel gains access to Walt Disney’s powerful marketing and distribution system, including Disney’s theme parks and cable television channels, and significantly improves its ability to finance its movies.
Disney gains the rights to Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk and about 5,000 other comic book characters which tend to be more popular with boys. This will supplement Disney’s existing intellectual property, led by Hannah Montana and its many princesses, which are more focused on girls.
Both boards approved the transaction. The negotiation began in June when both CEOs reportedly had a very cordial meeting in Marvel’s New York office. Disney’s CFO described the acquisition as being driven by “the opportunity for synergies over time.”
This deal appears to exhibit the hallmarks of Problem-Solving Negotiation Strategies. Problem-Solving Strategies involve mutually sharing critical information openly and liberally, downplaying leverage (while still recognizing its impact), relying on independent standards like market value and precedent, using less aggressive offer-concession moves and tactics and implementing mutually agreeable agenda and agenda-control tactics.
When does this approach work best? When the parties involved anticipate a strong future professional relationship, when the deal is complex and involves multiple issues and interests, when there are many creative options available and when both parties take this problem-solving approach to the negotiation – all of which appear to be the case here.