Walt Disney Co. Agrees to Buy Lucasfilm for $4.05 Billion
The Walt Disney Company, in a deal that will most likely lead to more films and more theme park attractions, has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction worth $4.05 Billion Lucasfilm is 100 percent owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder George Lucas.
Disney is paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.
"Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas," said Robert Iger, chairman and CEO of Disney. "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."
"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 CEO 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. 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 terms of the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney also will 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.
Kathleen Kennedy, current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become president of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. In addition, 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. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7, which 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.
Disney said Star Wars continues to resonate 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. The Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disney's acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel. 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.
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