Disney Acquires Lucasfilm for $4.05 Billion

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Disney’s Bob Iger and Lucasfilm’s George Lucas

Today it was announced that The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd in a stock and cash transaction worth an estimated $4.05 billion.

Disney and Lucasfilm have worked together in the past, most notably on the Star Tours attractions at its Disney theme parks. But with this agreement, Disney will wholly own Lucasfilm and everything to do with the Star Wars universe.

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “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.”

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. She will also serve as the brand manager for everything Star Wars, and executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with Lucas serving as creative consultant.

Lucas at Walt Disney World

The first major project lined up with Lucasfilm now under Disney will be Star Wars Episode 7, set for a 2015 release. This is the first film in the last of Lucas’ Star Wars trilogy.

Worth noting is that Marvel, which was also acquired by Disney, has scheduled the film Avengers 2 for release in 2015, as well.

“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.”

Lucasfilm will join Disney’s global portfolio of brands, including the previously mentioned Marvel, as well as Pixar, ESPN and ABC.

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.

What do you think of all this? I’m actually looking forward to this. I hope Disney operates Lucasfilm like they do Marvel, in not getting overly involved and letting the company do business as normal.

Here is a video provided by Lucasfilm, where George Lucas explains his decision to sell to Disney.

And here’s the video of Disney’s Iger and Lucas talking about the deal and how it came about.

[Photos courtesy of Disney]

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