The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) announced that it has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a cash and stock transaction. Lucasfilm is of course best known for its Star Wars franchise, Industrial Light & Magic, and its Chairman and Founder George Lucas. A seventh episode of Star Wars, targeted for a 2015 release, was also announced.
For Disney, this is a continuation of Chairman and CEO Robert Iger’s strategy of growth through large acquisitions – specifically those that expand Disney’s intellectual property of content, brands and innovative technology. His best known acquisitions have been Pixar Animation Studios and Marvel Entertainment.
In addition to Star Wars and Industrial Light & Magic; Lucasfilms brings with it Skywalker Sound; motion-picture and television production operations; global merchandising operations; and LucasArts, a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software worldwide; among other things.
For Lucasfilm the company, George Lucas was quoted in the announcement as saying “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.”
As to Mr. Lucas personally, his statement was “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.”
Mr. Lucas discusses the deal on YouTube here.
The deal is valued at around $4 billion, the final amount depending on Disney’s stock price at closing and any post-closing balance sheet adjustments. About half the consideration will be paid in cash and the other half in stock.