Disney Makes Power Move and Acquires Lucasfilm for $4 Billion

| October 31, 2012 | 0 Comments

It was announced on Tuesday that Disney has purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion. This is a major move for the house that Walt built. The purpose of the acquisition was to add the legendary Star Wars franchise to the entertainment giant’s stable of characters. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by founder George Lucas. The purchase culminates a one and a half year pursuit of the Lucas empire.

Lucas will receive 40 million Disney shares from the deal making him the second-largest non-institutional shareholder of Disney, reported Bloomberg News, behind the trust of deceased Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The 68-year-old Lucas will serve as a creative consultant but plans to retire.

Disney CEO Robert Iger in a statement that

“This is one of the great entertainment properties of all time, one of the best branded and one of the most valuable, and it’s just fantastic for us to have the opportunity to both buy it, run it and grow it. The big screen isn’t the only place that there might be tales from the galaxy far, far away. “We really like Star Wars‘ potential on TV as well,” Iger says, “and we think (cable-satellite channel) Disney XD will be a great home for that.”

The buyout is Disney’s fourth largest deal ever. It’s behind the $19.7 billion, $7.6 billion and $5.2 billion buyouts of Capital Cities/ABC in 1995, Pixar in 2006 and Fox Family in 2001, respectively, says S&P Capital IQ. It tops the $3.96 billion Disney paid for Marvel in August 2009.

Expect Disney to move more aggressively to expand the Star Wars film schedule. Following the release of Episode VII in 2015, “our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years,” Iger said.

Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX, Iger said, would follow “probably on a cadence of every other year and then go from there. . . . The (first) film is in early stage development right now.”

How longtime fans of the franchise will take to Disney’s new ownership has yet to be heard, but I’m sure some are worried that the integrity of the series could be tainted. We’ll see in 2015.

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