The Walt Disney Company announced today 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.
â€œLucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,â€ said Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. â€œThis transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including â€˜Star Wars,â€™ one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disneyâ€™s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.â€
Disney is the owner of ABC News and this website. 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.
â€œFor the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see â€˜Star Warsâ€™ passed from one generation to the next,â€ said Lucas. â€œItâ€™s now time for me to pass â€˜Star Warsâ€™ on to a new generation of filmmakers. Iâ€™ve always believed that â€˜Star Warsâ€™ could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. Iâ€™m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, â€˜Star Warsâ€™ will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disneyâ€™s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.â€
Lucasfilm includes its popular â€˜Star Warsâ€™ franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. â€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,â€ Disney said in a statement.
â€œKathleen 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 â€˜Star Wars,â€™ working directly with Disneyâ€™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 â€˜Star Warsâ€™ feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. â€˜Star Wars Episode 7â€² 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,â€ according to the statement.
â€œThe acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of â€˜Star Warsâ€™ content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.
â€œDriven by a tremendously talented creative team, Lucasfilmâ€™s legendary Star Wars franchise has flourished for more than 35 years, and offers a virtually limitless universe of characters and stories to drive continued feature film releases and franchise growth over the long term. â€˜Star Warsâ€™ resonates with consumers around the world and creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks. â€˜Star Warsâ€™ feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box to date, and continued global demand has made â€˜Star Warsâ€™ one of the worldâ€™s top product brands, and Lucasfilm a leading product licensor in the United States in 2011. The franchise provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models including digital platforms, putting the acquisition in strong alignment with Disneyâ€™s strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.
â€œThe Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disneyâ€™s very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel, which demonstrated the companyâ€™s unique ability to fully develop and expand the financial potential of high quality creative content with compelling characters and storytelling through the application of innovative technology and multiplatform distribution on a truly global basis to create maximum value. Adding Lucasfilm to Disneyâ€™s portfolio of world class brands significantly enhances the companyâ€™s ability to serve consumers with a broad variety of the worldâ€™s highest-quality content and to create additional long-term value for our shareholders.
â€œThe 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.â€