Disney acquires Star Wars franchise in Lucasfilm takeover
31 October 2012
The Walt Disney Company is set to acquire 100% of privately-held entertainment company Lucasfilm for $4.05bn, in a mix of cash and shares.
Under the terms of the deal, Disney will acquire all of Lucasfilm’s assets including its Star Wars franchise, which has generated $4.4bn at the box office to date, as well as operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects and audio post production.
Through the acquisition, Lucasfilm co-chairman Kathleen Kennedy will become president of Lucasfilm and report into Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. She will also serve as brand manager for Star Wars and will be executive producer on new Star Wars films, beginning with Star Wars Episode 7, which is tipped for release in 2015.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Lucasfilm is 100% owned by its chairman and founder George Lucas. Lucas will serve as a creative consultant to Star Wars and all other Lucasfilm employees will remain in their current roles and locations.
Lucasfilm will join Walt Disney’s global portfolio of brands which include Disney, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel and ABC.
The deal expands a long-standing relationship between the two companies in which Star Wars content has been integrated into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision and storytelling of its founder George Lucas,” says The Walt Disney Company chairman and chief executive Robert A. Iger. “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.”
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," says Lucas. “It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. 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.”
The deal has already been approved by the boards of directors of Disney and Lucasfilm, but is subject to customary closing conditions.
Jenni Baker, London