Netflix purchases Millarworld in the first acquisition of its 20-year history

Film and TV streaming leader Netflix has bought comic book publisher Millarworld to reinforce its content strategy amid rising competition

 
Mark Millar, founder of Millarworld 
Author: Luján Scarpinelli
August 8, 2017

On August 7, Netflix announced the purchase of Millarworld, a comic book publisher, in a move that represents the first acquisition in its 20-year history. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it is nonetheless a significant step towards the company’s goal of creating more original content and decreasing its dependence on negotiating licences.

Although the purchase amount wasn’t revealed, market estimates have set the price range between $50m and $100m, according to The Wall Street Journal. “The acquisition, the first ever by Netflix, is a natural progression in the company’s effort to work directly with prolific and skilled creators and to acquire intellectual property and ownership of stories,” said the firm in a press release.

This is only the third time in history a major comic book company has been purchased at this level

The agreement doesn’t include Kick-Ass and Kingsman, two of the biggest titles in Millarworld’s portfolio, Reuters reported. However, future creations by the publisher will be introduced under the Netflix label.

Moreover, the deal is in line with earlier transactions in the industry. As Mark Millar, Millarworld’s founder and a former Marvel employee, put it: “This is only the third time in history a major comic book company has been purchased at this level.” The first was made by Warner Bros, which bought DC Comics in 1968. Disney was involved in the latest, when it purchased Marvel for $4bn in 2009. Since August 7, a new transaction has been added to the list.

Speaking to Reuters, Raymond James analyst Justin Patterson said the acquisition “is likely financially immaterial to Netflix”, and that there might be more acquisitions to come.

Though competition is markedly increasing, the online video pioneer has recently given proof of healthy growth, beating forecasts with a total of 104 million subscriptions – mostly outside the US – in the second quarter of 2017. Meanwhile, revenue rose by 32 percent to $2.79bn, and net income climbed by 60 percent to $66m. Shares in Netflix are now trading at historic highs, at $181.33, following a peak of $188.54 in July.