Michael Jackson wanted so badly to play the role of Spider-man that he had the crazy notion that he could buy out Marvel comics and make up the rules as he went, or so it sounds like. Jackson was a big fan of the comics and at the time he was attempting to make an offer Marvel was just about bankrupt since they’d had such a poor run of movies and limited success in other ventures. Something tells me that Michael was trying to swoop in to save the day like the character that he was wanting to play so badly but somehow missed the part about the director and the studio getting to decide just who gets cast into each position. Even if he’d managed to buy the company he wouldn’t have had much choice but to stand aside and let the director and the studio have their way.
Also, the idea that he could just rush in and nab the company for a price that might seem fair was something that no one at Marvel was going to allow to happen. A lot of it had to do with the bad blood between Marvel’s creator Stan Lee and Stan Lee Media, who Lee no longer has any affiliations with. That’s a long, bitter story however that we won’t go into at this point since it would take up way too much time and effort.
But the point is that Jackson went to Stan Lee Media thinking to procure Marvel, but before he did that he ended up going to see and talk to Stan Lee. What Lee told him was that he couldn’t help him and that he would have to go directly to Marvel. So Jackson did this, and eventually was entered into negotiations after acquiring the services of a financial firm to help him out. Had he gone on his own without consulting Stan Lee or even telling Lee about this he might have been a little more successful, though I shudder to think about what might have happened. Instead, word got around as it tends to do in big negotiations and Ike Perlmutter, the CEO of Toy Biz, who owned Marvel at that time, wasn’t about to do business with Jackson acting as a frontman for Lee. The bad blood between Perlmutter and Lee ran so deep at that time that Marvel remained firmly where it was for the time being when Perlmutter raised the price to one billion, far more than Jackson could afford.
A real slap in the face came later on though when Marvel was sold to Disney for four billion, easily more than the company was worth at the time. The biggest difference between Michael Jackson and the Disney Corporation in this matter was that Disney had deep pockets and an interest in revitalizing something that could be another cash cow. Jackson was only interested in saving a company so that he could live out a fantasy he’d had for years. While it’s kind of interesting that he felt that way about Marvel and had such a simple goal, there was no way that sentiment was going to trump business in this matter.