Rango feeling the Force.
Disney is buying Lucasfilm for $4 billion, adding the legendary Star Wars franchise to the entertainment giant's stable of characters. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Founder George Lucas.
The buyout ranks among one of the largest ever made by Disney. It's fourth 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.
Under terms of the deal, Lucas will be paid half in cash and half in the form of about 40 million Disney shares.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” Disney CEO Robert Iger said in a statement. “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.”
Lucas said in a statement that it is “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,” Lucas said. “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.”
Based on Disney's closing price on Oct. 26, the deal is valued at roughly $4.1 billion. Disney will pay half the deal value in cash and issue 40 million shares of Disney to pay for the deal.
"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, in a statement. "It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers."
Kathleen Kennedy, co-chairman of LucasFilm, will report to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn.
The latest part of the Star Wars saga, Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for a 2015 release.
Sources: Forbes, Reuters.