In its first buy, Netflix acquires Kick-Ass, Kingsmen creator Millarworld

Welcome to the M&A world, Netflix.

Netflix announced on Monday its acquisition of the independent comic book publisher Millarworld, the first purchase in its company history. Millarworld, founded by the Scottish comic book writer Mark Millar, created recent Hollywood comic book blockbusters such as Kick-Ass and Kingsmen, which together has amassed $1 billion in global box office.

“Mark is as close as you can get to a modern day Stan Lee,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a company blog. “We can’t wait to harness the creative power of Millarworld to Netflix and start a new era in global storytelling.”

Netflix and Millarworld are still working out the next steps, according to a blog post by Millar. Terms of the acquisition are undisclosed, says Netflix.

“Netflix is the future and we couldn’t be more thrilled to sell the business to them and buckle up for all the amazing movies and television shows we plan to do together,” said Millar. “This feels like joining the Justice League and I can’t wait to start working with them.”

Millarworld, which are run by Mark and his wife Lucy, also a celebrated comic book artist, will be providing a new stable of comic book television series to Netflix which goes beyond the existing shows with Marvel Comics. Netflix enjoyed mixed success with its Marvel tie-ins, such as Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Daredevil.

Acquisitions of comic book publishers by large entertainment conglomerates are rare but not unprecedented. The Millarworld acquisition is only the third of its kind, according to Millar; Warner Bros. bought DC Comics in 1968, and Disney bought Marvel in 2009.

To continue boosting its worldwide subscriber base of over 100 million, Netflix has been doubling down on original content, turning itself into a Hollywood powerhouse which last month was nominated for a total of 91 Emmy nominations.

But the Los Gatos-based company’s investments have come with a serious price tag. Netflix has over $20 billion in debt and is expected to spend over $6 billion in original content this year, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Photo: This June 24, 2015 photo shows the Netflix Apple TV app icon, in South Orange, N.J. (AP Photo/Dan Goodman)


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