Sunday, September 6, 2009


Warren Buffett called the acquisition of Gillette by Procter & Gamble a “dream deal” that would “create the greatest consumer products company in the world.” Buffet felt so strongly about the deal that he agreed to acquire additional P&G and Gillette shares so that he would own 3.9% of the combined company upon deal completion. A P&G and Gillette combination seemed to be highly synergistic: the two companies’ products were strong in different regions of the world and focused on different genders. P&G = women ("Tide gets your clothes whiter than white"), while Gillette = men ("The Best a Man Can Get").

Disney's character portfolio, which appeals to pre-teen girls and includes the likes of "Hannah Montana" and "Disney Princess", was infused with a Gillette-like synergy when Disney announced a $4 billion plan to acquire Marvel Entertainment. Marvel has developed marvelously dark characters such as Spiderman, Captain America and X-Men, all of which are just the thing for pre-adolescent boys.

Both P&G and Disney paid "full and fair" price for their acquisitions. But both enjoy real synergy. And just as Gillette had its champion in Mr. Buffett, Marvel's creative legend Stan ("The Man") Lee, creator of many Marvel characters dubs the acquisistion: "a terrific deal that will be extremely beneficial to both companies..." It also helps that John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Pixar/Disney animation, can vouch that the Disney culture under Bob Iger is talent-friendly.