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Millarworld deal marks Netflix’s first acquisition

Digital-headernetflixSVOD giant Netflix has entered the mergers and acquisitions market for the first time by acquiring comic book publishing house Millarworld.

Netflix called its move into M&A a “natural progression in the company’s effort to work directly with prolific and skilled creators and to acquire intellectual properly ownership of stories featuring compelling characters and timeless, interwoven fictional worlds”.

The firm plans to use Millarworld’s portfolio of character franchises to create film, series and kids entertainment shows.

Millarworld and its founder Mark Millar are behind the Kick-Ass, Kingsman and Old Man Logan comic characters.

“This is only the third time in history a major comic book company has been purchased at this level,” said Millar, referencing Warner Bros. deal for DC Comics in 1968 and Disney’s acquisition of Marvel Entertainment seven years ago.

“I’m so in love with what Netflix is doing and excited by their plans. Netflix is the future and Millarworld couldn’t have a better home.”

Millar runs the business with his wife, Lucy Millar. He previously spent eight years at Marvel, which has produced multiple series for Netflix.

His comics have served as the inspiration for the first Avengers movie, Captain America: Civil War and Logan, and spawned the Kick-Ass, Wanted and Kingsman films.

“As creator and re-inventor of some of the most memorable stories and characters in recent history, ranging from Marvel’s The Avengers to Millarworld’s Kick-Ass, Kingsman, Wanted and Reborn franchises, Mark is as close as you can get to a modern day Stan Lee,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

“We can’t wait to harness the creative power of Millarworld to Netflix and start a new era in global storytelling.

“Mark has created a next-generation comics universe, full of indelible characters living in situations people around the world can identify easily with,” he added. “We look forward to creating new Netflix Originals from several existing franchises as well as new super-hero, anti-hero, fantasy, sci-fi and horror stories Mark and his team will continue to create and publish.”

Financial terms of the deal were not revealed, but the news comes soon after an LA Times article questioned the viability of Netflix’s spend-heavy strategy and pointed to debts of US$20.54 billion.