Kind of amazing to think Marvel was virtually worthless 10 years ago.
In 1997 they ran out of cash. Flat-out. They had borrowed over $100 million and ran out of that. They were within days of hanging a "closed" sign on the door and liquidating. They had so much debt that they could have been purchased for nearly nothing. They had gone bankrupt, restructured, and come out even weaker than before.
In 2001 the stock was trading under a dollar.
It was around this time that Avi Arad came in and threw a hail mary to Hollywood. It was caught, fortunately, in part due to the Spiderman film rights finally being usable (they'd been in dispute.) It took until around 2004 for Marvel to shake off all of its debt. It was still in trouble, with aggressors pretty much taking advantage of its weak situation in those years.
But, in 2001, the company was worth probably 1% of what Disney paid. It probably could have been purchased for under $100 million.