Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter (Hebrew: יצחק "אייק" פרלמוטר; December 1, 1942) is an Israeli-American businessperson and financier. He has been the CEO of Marvel Entertainment since January 1, 2005. He was also the owner of Remington Products and Marvel Toys.
Isaac Perlmutter was born to a Jewish family in Israel. He emigrated to the United States after serving in the Israeli Army during the Six-Day War of 1967. Arriving in New York City with only $250, he earned a living standing outside Jewish cemeteries in Brooklyn, leveraging his Hebrew skills to lead funeral services for tips.
Later he sold toys and beauty products on the streets of New York City, which eventually evolved into selling surplus stock and end-of-line items at a big profit. Although he never attended a university, he taught himself how to read a balance sheet and became very good at spotting overlooked value in weak and distressed companies.
With a new partner, Bernard Marden, and leveraging the skills he attained as a wholesaler, he formed a company called Odd Lot Trading, a wholesaler and retailer of closeout items. In May 1984, they sold Odd Lot to Revco Discount Drug Stores in exchange for 12% of Revco stock. He soon challenged Revco management for control of the company but, after initial positive feedback, was rejected. Perlmutter and his partner threatened a hostile takeover but eventually refrained and sold their share back to Revco for $120 million.
Perlmutter had a close relationship with the management of toy manufacturer Coleco Entertainment Corporation as he had been purchasing unsold inventory from them for some time. As is typical in the industry, payment terms were often unusual. With Coleco, Perlmutter would purchase unsold inventory in exchange for 50% cash and 50% in "barter advertising credits" (basically a promise to pay for the future advertising expenses of Coleco). Over a four-year period, Perlmutter had received $144 million in goods and paid $73 million in cash along with providing $71 million in barter advertising credits to be paid in the future.
In 1988, he saw an opportunity as Coleco struggled under its debt due to the advent of the personal computer which impacted the sale of video games. Perlmutter bought all of Coleco's senior debt (with $85 million in face value) for $50 million, a substantial discount, becoming senior to their bondholders in the event of a bankruptcy. Although Perlmutter believed that a Coleco bankruptcy was probable, he also believed that the value of the Coleco's assets should be sufficient to cover the full $85 million in value that he had purchased. In July 1988, Coleco filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The bondholders, suspicious over Perlmutter's close relationship with Coleco's management, sued Perlmutter alleging fraudulent conveyance over the barter advertising credits (which made up a very significant item on Coleco's balance sheet). After extensive negotiation, a settlement was reached whereby Coleco would be sold to Hasbro Corporation for $85 million and Perlmutter would accept $64 million for his now $90 million claim (principal plus interest) in exchange for the withdrawal of the lawsuit.
In 1994, Victor Kiam sold controlling interest of Remington Products to Isaac Perlmutter. Perlmutter became Vice President of Remington. Kiam and Perlmutter sold Remington to Vestar Capital Partners in 1996.
Isaac Perlmutter was a member of the Board of directors of Marvel Comics beginning in April 1993 and was Chairman of the Board until March 1995.
Isaac Perlmutter also was the co-owner, with Avi Arad, of Toy Biz (later Marvel Toys), having purchased its predecessor company from Charan Industries in January 1990. Toy Biz, Inc. was reorganized in the Marvel deal with Perlmutter continue owning the original Toy Biz, Inc., which is renamed Zib, Inc. Zib held its foreign sales affiliate, Toy Biz International Ltd., a Hong Kong corporation and Perlmutter's share of the new Toy Biz, Inc.
When Marvel company group went bankrupt in 1996, protracted legal battles over control of the company followed between Perlmutter, Arad, Carl Icahn, and Ron Perelman. By 1997, Perlmutter and Arad had established control over the company, pushing out Icahn and Perelman. ToyBiz and Marvel were merged into Marvel Enterprises to bring it out of bankruptcy in June 1998 with ToyBiz becoming a division of the new company.
In November 2001, Perlmutter became Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Marvel. He became the Chief Executive Officer of Marvel Comics on January 1, 2005. He remained CEO of Marvel Entertainment, even when the full acquisition of Marvel Entertainment by The Walt Disney Company came of Dec. 31, 2009. Although Perlmutter received $800 million in cash and $590 million in Disney stock after the acquisition, he has admitted he does not want a seat within Disney's board of directors.
In September 2015, Perlmutter stopped overseeing the development of Marvel Studios. Disney felt the studio head, Kevin Feige, should report directly to the chief of Disney Studios, Alan Horn, so all cinematic properties of Disney, including Pixar and Lucasfilm, were under one management structure. The restructuring was allegedly due to Feige's "frustration" of working with Perlmutter as well as some alleged controversial comments and actions by Perlmutter, such as replacing the casting of Terrence Howard as James Rhodes with Don Cheadle because black people "look the same." Jeph Loeb, who oversees Marvel Television and the television properties of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, still reports to Perlmutter.
Early in his career, Perlmutter met his wife Laurie J. Perlmutter at a Catskills resort and they married soon after. They divide their time between homes in West Palm Beach, Florida and New York City.
Perlmutter takes great pride in never having given an interview over his entire career despite being in the public eye due to his many court battles and bankruptcy fights. He has rarely been spontaneously photographed.
Philanthropy and political giving
In 1993, Perlmutter and his wife established the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professorship and Chair in Cell Biology at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine (part of the New York University School of Medicine). In addition, Mrs. Perlmutter has served as a trustee on the NYU Medical Center's Board of Trustees since 1993.
In 2015, Laura Perlmutter donated $2 million to a Super PAC supporting the presidential candidacy of Marco Rubio. Isaac has donated $1 million to Donald Trump's presidential campaign's donation for wounded veterans.
On June 30, 2016, Laura Perlmutter donated $449,400 to a PAC supporting Donald Trump, and later was part of Trump's Inauguration committee.
- Zib, Inc.
- Tangible Media
- Remington Products Company
- Westwood Industries, Inc., table and floor lamps manufacturer and distributor
- Job Lot Incorporated, retail discount chain
- REC Sound Incorporated
- Classic Heroes, Inc., majority stockholder, an apparel manufacturing distributor