In what could only be described as a deal that's out of this world, The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction valued at US$4.05 billion.
As part of the deal, Disney will take ownership of the Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, video effects and audio post-production.
Perhaps of most interest to the franchise's fanatics, Disney has announced that it is targeting a 2015 release date for Star Wars Episode 7, and will continue to make more Star Wars films "well into the future."
George Lucas, who had 100% ownership of Lucasfilm Ltd. will serve as a creative consultant on future Star Wars films.
"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," says 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."
Meanwhile, Kathleen Kennedy, the current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm will become its President, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. She will also serve as the franchise's Brand Manager, and will be the Executive Producer of forthcoming Star Wars films.
Lucasfilm is based out of San Francisco, CA, and operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound. Current employees of Lucasfilm will be able to maintain their positions.
To date, Star Wars feature films have earned US$4.4 at the box office.
In Photo: Robert Iger, CEO, The Walt Disney Company (left) and George Lucas.