Big business news today as The Walt Disney Company announces it has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd.—including the popular Star Wars franchise—in a stock and cash transaction from 100% owner, chairman and founder George Lucas. Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on Oct. 26, the transaction value amounts to $4.05 billion with Disney paying half in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said Lucas. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”
Under the deal Disney will acquire the studio including the Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live-action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects and audio post production; plus the substantial technology portfolios of Lucasfilm, LucasArts, ILM and Skywalker Sound. Current co-chairman of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. Kennedy will also serve as brand manager for Star Wars and exec produce new Star Wars films, with Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode VII is targeted for a 2015 release, with the franchise expected to grow.