Disney has swooped to acquire LucasFilm in a $4.05bn move.
Furthermore, Disney has confirmed the planned launch of new movie sequel Star Wars VII in 2015 “with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future”.
The deal was a stock and cash transaction with Disney paying half in cash and the rest in issuing around 40m shares. For that it acquires the Star Wars IP, LucasFilm's operating live film businesses, consumer products divisions, animation and FX studios and audio post production facilities.
This includes brands and operations such as LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound.
Current LucasFilm co-chairman Kathleen Kennedy becomes the new president and Star Wars brand manager. She will also serve executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with Lucas to contribute under the guise of creative consultant.
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” LucasArts boss and Star Wars creator George Lucas stated.
“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.”
Despite being the epitome of the Hollywood Blockbuster, Star Wars has remained an independent production over the last two decades. This move potentially opens the door to what Lucas himself said he did not want to do – the making of Star Wars VII, VIII and IX.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” Walt Disney chairman and Robert A Iger stated. “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."