The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that a superhero sized legal battle is brewing between Florida’s top 2 theme park giants. In one corner, The Walt Disney Co and it’s recently completed $4 billion dollar purchase of Marvel. In the other corner, NBC Universal, the only theme park on the east coast licensed to use the Marvel characters thanks to a 15 year licensing contract (which Disney now owns). But that’s not all.
In the contract, it states that that Marvel Entertainment (now Disney) will have certain rights over the use of their characters at Universal, such as the ability to audit Universal Orlando’s books to make sure it’s getting the correct amount of Royalties, the power to review Universal’s upcoming promotional materials which may feature Marvel Characters, and other proprietary information regarding Universal.
But the problem goes both ways. With access to such information, lawyers are saying that since WDW and Universal control 90% of the theme park revenue in Central Florida, it could open up both companies to charges of price-fixing or other antitrust charges.
“What an antitrust regulator would be concerned about very clearly is the notion that Disney and Universal would be able to coordinate their activities in the theme-park business,” said Randal Picker, a commercial-law professor at the University of Chicago. “You’d really want to be careful with this.”
In an attempt to avoid any kind of antitrust complaint, Disney and Universal have recently signed an agreement in which Disney promises not to divulge any confidential information regarding Universal Orlando to its theme park division. Universal disclosed the agreement to the public in a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
For more on this story, please go to: Marvel superheroes could pose antitrust risk for Disney, Universal | TheDailyDisney.com from OrlandoSentinel.com