The Walt Disney Company has announced its acquisition of George Lucas’ Film Production Company, Lucasfilm Ltd. The deal is valued at approximately $4 billion.
Regarding the transaction, Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger made this statement:
Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas. 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 Ltd is wholly owned by its Chairman and Founder, Hollywood legend George Lucas. Mr. Lucas stated that he was excited about the move, as it ensures the survival of the Star Wars franchise for generations to come:
For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. 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 fully acquires all facets of Lucasfilm Ltd, which is headquartered in San Francisco. Divisions of the company also include LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound. At present, the plan calls for all of the company’s employees to remain in their current location.
Kathleen Kennedy, who currently serves as Co-Chairman of the company, will become President of Lucasfilm, and will report directly to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Ms. Kennedy will also work directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of the Star Wars franchise as its brand manager. In addition, she will act as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas remaining on board as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, and the company anticipates continuing production of additional chapters in the Star Wars saga and well into the future.
While the Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, it is still 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.
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