Disney acquires stake in Stan Lee's POW!

Also taking 'enhanced rights' to company's creative side

As Disney was sealing its deal with Marvel Entertainment on Thursday, it was also expanding its ties with POW! Entertainment, the company led by the man who once ran Marvel and co-created many of its signature characters, Stan Lee.

Disney is acquiring a 10% stake of POW! for $2.5 million. It is also acquiring "enhanced rights" to the company's creative side as well as exclusive consulting services. It was not clear what the rights and services entailed or the reason for expanding its relationship with POW!

Disney signed a first-look arrangement with POW! in 2007. Although no projects have come to fruition on the feature side, several are in development, including lighthearted mystery tale "Nick Ratchett," action-adventure project "Blaze" and one called "Tigress." POW! is also working on several projects for the home entertainment sector.

On Thursday, Marvel stockholders approved the company's plan to merge Marvel Entertainment with Disney, paving the way for Marvel to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Disney. Marvel estimates the merger's value at $4.3 billion.  (The completed merger is still subject to conditions in the definitive proxy statement/prospectus filed by Disney with the SEC on Dec. 2.)

The Disney-POW! deal was also sealed Thursday.

Disney may be hoping to tap in to Lee's creative side to create concepts and stories that will work across several platforms, from gaming to the company's young male-skewing Disney XD channel. It may also hope to tap into his knowledge of the Marvel Universe, though Lee hasn't been involved with Marvel's comic books since the early 1990s.