Update: Now with video regarding the buyout including words from Lucas himself.
THE END IS NIGH!
Because buying Marvel wasn’t enough.
BURBANK, Calif. & SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– 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.
JESUS CHRIST! First off lets wrap our heads around the ramifications of this:
Disney now controls the two biggest boy’s licenses: Star Wars and Marvel. Mind you $4 billion is what they paid for Marvel, so that shows you how much they wanted the Star Wars license and my next point: Disney now has control of the BIGGEST EFFECTS HOUSE IN THE INDUSTRY with ILM. Add Skywalker Sound and everything else Lucasfilm had (the irony that Pixar and Lucasfilm are reunited in some ways are astounding). They also control the TOY RIGHTS TO FUCKING STAR WARS! and Marvel!
Before I started writing this, I was arguing with someone on twitter who said Lucas isn’t going to allow anything Star Wars to go through without him. Well, terms of the deal are that Disney is not going to sit around waiting for Lucas to concoct a new movie: THEY’RE DOING IT THEMSELVES! Under the Lucasfilm banner, we’ll see a new Star Wars film in the summer of 2015. That means there’s going to be Avengers 2, Justice League and the first new Star Wars live action film in ten years all in the span of three months! Not only that, but more Star Wars films after that.
What this means is that I might finally see the day someone besides Lucas tells a Star Wars tale as it should be done. I want an Old Republic movie. I want Boba Fett films. Give me all the great Expanded Universe tales or new stories from fans with awesome Jedi/ Sith battles and something outside of the Skywalker family!
THIS IS HAPPENING PEOPLE!
The only way I thought I was ever going to see something like this was the day after George Lucas was put in the ground after a massive heart-attack forced him to fly his private jet into the side of a mountain that had been set on fire by terrorists. Never underestimate the power of the House of the Mouse.