The Walt Disney Company on Tuesday announced that it is to acquire Star Wars production company LucasFilm. The news was revealed via a press release this afternoon with an investor conference call scheduled to take place later today. LucasFilm, which is 100 percent owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas, will be sold to Disney as part of a deal worth $4.05 billion. Disney said today that it will pay roughly half of the consideration in cash and then issue approximately 40 million shares at closing.
So, what does this mean for the Star Wars franchise? Well, for one, more movies. Disney says we can expect Star Wars Episode 7 in 2015 and that it will continue the Star Wars saga and plans to grow the franchise well into the future. And, though there is already Star Wars content at the Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo, Disney said the acquisition would create more opportunities across its portfolio, including theme parks.
"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," the company said. "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."
Speaking about the acquisition, George Lucas said that he felt it was time to hand the franchise on to a new generation.
"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."
Disney will acquire Star Wars as well as LucasFilm's businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. The company will also take on LucasFilm's substantial portfolio of entertainment technologies. The company didn't mention anything about redundancies but said that Lucasfilm employees are to remain in their current locations.