Disney to buy Lucasfilm for $4 billion

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The following is an excerpt from a press release. -J]

Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney 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 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."

"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. 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 will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and "evergreen" Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. 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.

Kathleen 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 Star Wars, working directly with Disney'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 Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 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.

The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of Star Wars content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.

Driven by a tremendously talented creative team, Lucasfilm'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. Star Wars 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. Star Wars feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box to date, and continued global demand has made Star Wars one of the world'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 Disney's strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.

The Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disney's very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel, which demonstrated the company'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 Disney's portfolio of world class brands significantly enhances the company's ability to serve consumers with a broad variety of the world's highest-quality content and to create additional long-term value for our shareholders.

Read the entire press release from The Walt Disney Company.

Jeff's avatar

Sounds like a good excuse to drop the Avatarland nonsense and do it right. With Star Wars.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

eightdotthree's avatar

Or revitalize Hollywood Studios.

Vater's avatar

Maybe they'll redo Episodes I, II, and III. Or just destroy any remnants of the current ones.

bjames's avatar

Between buying Pixar, Marvel, and now LucasFilm, Disney's growing into quite the entertainment Death Star.

Jeff's avatar

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

I wonder if we'll ever know how hard Disney found it, signing the order to terminate Avatarland's life.

My author website: mgrantroberts.com

Gemini's avatar

Jeff said:
Sounds like a good excuse to drop the Avatarland nonsense and do it right. With Star Wars.

I don't know if they'll drop it (they should), but doing something large-scale with Star Wars seems like a given at this point.

Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz

Jason Hammond's avatar

Or This

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eightdotthree's avatar


On a Tuesday conference call, the company's executives began mapping out Lucasfilm's future. Disney will, for one, make more "Star Wars" movies. Following one slated for release in 2015, the company said "more feature films [are] expected to continue the 'Star Wars' saga and grow the franchise well into the future." It will also find ways to use "Star Wars" throughout its businesses, including theme parks, consumer products, television and so on.

Last edited by eightdotthree,
janfrederick's avatar

This, like the Pixar acquisition, seems like a no brainer. Seems like a good deal too considering how much they paid for Pixar.

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza

Looking forward to the Jedi-ing World of Luke Skywalker...

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Here's the whole thing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4_dZPVg8KI

Last edited by PerrysburgGuy,

I'm really, really skeptical about their desire to release a new Star Wars film every two or three years. Not gonna lie, I pretty much facepalmed and said I hope that doesn't happen. If it does, you can pretty much expect them to be crap, in my (not so) humble opinion.

That said, I'll believe this has an impact on the parks beyond merchandise and meet and greets when something actually opens, what with the recent history of announcing things that don't happen.

Last edited by maXairMike,

Original BlueStreak64

eightdotthree's avatar

I don't know why you would assume they would be crap. With Lucas not directing there is an opportunity to hire someone new who can reboot the franchise in a good way. The cartoons have been great, no reason new films can't be.

Sorry, but that kind of statement screams "crappy movies" to me. I just can't see quality films being churned out assembly line style when you know the sole intention is milking the series and fan base, not creating quality.

Is it possible they could actually turn out good? Sure, but I don't have any faith that will happen.

Original BlueStreak64

eightdotthree's avatar

I don't know. I think that sort of statement is made for shareholders but in the end smart people get to make the movies. Christopher Nolan managed to make Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises in seven years. If they assign a good producer to it we could end up with some entertaining films!

LostKause's avatar

I took the statement about a new film every two or three years to be about the next trilogy. I didn't think that they were talking about indefinitely releasing a new movie every few years. However, if people will still go see new star Wars films, why not keep making them? I always wondered why Lucas didn't keep it going himself, as popular as the franchise is. They have been leaving money on the table by not making new movies.

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