BURBANK, CA -- If you don't already have enough "Star Wars" in your life, brace yourself. The Walt Disney Company announced today in a press release that it has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. and the entirety of the "Star Wars" franchise for $4.05 billion in a stock and cash transaction. In addition, "Star Wars, Episode 7" is slated for a 2015 release, with two more tentatively scheduled to follow between 2017 and 2021. President of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy will serve as executive producer and founder George Lucas will serve as 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," said 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 "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" franchises and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of "Star Wars" content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.
The Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm, George Lucas.