Walt Disney this afternoon announced a deal to buy Lucasfilm from Star Wars director and film pioneer George Lucas for $4.05 billion in cash and stock.
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.”
The deal includes not only Star Wars but also other businesses operated by Lucasfilm, including LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound. Disney said the current plan is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.
Kathleen Kennedy, now co-chairman of Lucasfilm, becomes president of the company, reporting to Disney Chairman Alan Horn. She’s also act brand manager for Star Wars. The announcement said she will serve as executive producer on new fils in the franchise, with Lucas as creative consultant. The announcement notes that Star Wars Episode 7 is scheduled for release in 2015, with more films expected to follow.
Update: Speaking on CNBC, Robert Iger said the deal will be slightly dilutive for the first two years after the close, and then accretive after that.