The Walt Disney Company announced Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction valued at $4.05 billion. Lucasfilm is 100 percent owned by Lucasfilm chairman and founder, George Lucas.
Under the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on Oct. 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying half of the consideration in cash and issuing 40 million shares at closing.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO 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.”
Its last big purchases included a $4 billion deal for comics giant Marvel in 2009 and a $7.4 billion deal for animated movie studio Pixar in 2006.
“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.”
Lucasfilm includes its popular ‘Star Wars’ franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. ”Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations,” Disney said in a statement.
“Kathleen Kennedy, current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become president of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for ‘Star Wars,’ working directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise.
Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new ‘Star Wars’ feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. ‘Star Wars Episode 7? is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future,” according to the statement.
“The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of ‘Star Wars’ content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.
“The Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm.”