Disney has purchased George Lucas’ Lucasfilm LTD for $4.05 billion, the two companies announced on Tuesday.
Disney will own all of LucasFilm, including its film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects and audio post-production divisions. It will also acquire the rights to a number of revolutionary entertainment technologies. To acquire all of that, Disney will pay half of that sum in cash and the other half in stock, based on Disney’s stock price at market close Tuesday.
Lucas, the legendary creator of “Star Wars,” founded the company in 1971. LucasFilm has produced Lucas’ many high-profile projects, such as”American Graffiti,” the “Star Wars” franchise and the “Indiana Jones” franchise.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of Disney, said in a statement. “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.”
Lucas, co-chairman and CEO, has made clear in recent years that he plans to step aside and brought on Kathleen Kennedy, a long-time collaborator, as his successor.
Also Read: Kathleen Kennedy Joins George Lucas as Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm
Kennedy will serve as president of Lucasfilm, reporting directly to Disney studio chief Alan Horn.
Disney has excelled at creating films and characters that it can turn into global brands, such as animated characters like “Finding Nemo” or the Marvel superheroes. Its theme parks and consumer products division produce substantial revenues as a result.
Lucasfilm’s past films, particularly “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones,” fit right into that mold. In addition to her role as president, Kennedy will serve as the brand manager for “Star Wars,” helping Disney to further capitalize on a brand that has been turned into video games, toys and just about everything else.
Disney has also announced that a seventh “Star Wars” film will be released in 2015, with more features in the franchise to come.