It has been announced today that Disney will be buying Lucasfilm for a cool $4.05 billion. Disney has been purchasing a number big companies over the last decade, including Marvel Comics for $4.2 billion in 2009 and Pixar for $7.4 billion in 2006. It has also been announced Star Wars Episode 7 will be released by Disney in 2015, with further films released every two to three years.
Its understood that George Lucas will remain involved as "creative consultant". Current Co-Chairman Kathleen Kennedy will become executive producer for subsequent Star Wars films and president of the new business venture. Disney's Chair Alan Horn plans to complete the transaction by releasing 40 million shares of stock, and the other half in cash.
Disney already has some Star Wars attractions in its theme parks so it seemed a natural transition for the company to buy Lucasfilm. It will also inherit its lucrative merchandise business. Up until now Star Wars has been distributed by Twentieth Century Fox, and with planned 3D versions of previous Star Wars releases it is unclear if these will still go ahead.
George Lucas said simply: It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers..... 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."