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Summary:

Disney is acquiring George Lucas’s Lucasfilm, including the “Star Wars” franchise and associated technology, for $4.05 billion. “Star Wars Episode 7″ is slated to be released in 2015, with more films to follow every two to three years afterwards.

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Disney is the new home of Star Wars. On Tuesday, with the New York Stock Exchange closed due to Hurricane Sandy, Disney announced it has acquired George Lucas’s Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, saying the Star Wars franchise’s potential for “new business models including digital platforms” is “in strong alignment with Disney’s strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.”

The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval, will be roughly half cash and half stock. It includes all of Lucasfilm — not just the Star Wars franchise but “its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production,” as well as “the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years.”

“We’re likely to focus more on social and mobile than we are on console,” Disney chairman and CEO Robert Iger said in an investor call Tuesday afternoon, “given the nature of these characters and how well-known they are…they lend themselves quite nicely to [these] platforms.”

Kathleen Kennedy, who has served as co-chairman of Lucasfilm since June when George Lucas announced that he was getting ready for retirement, will become president, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. She “will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant.” Star Wars Episode 7 is slated for a 2015 release, with the next films to come every two to three years after that. “A lot of the value that we attribute to this deal is [still] to come,” Jay Rasulo, Disney senior EVP and CFO said on the investor call.

Lucas — who was not on the investor call — said in a statement, “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. 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.”

Disney would not disclose Lucasfilm’s annual revenue, but the Star Wars films have pulled in over $4.4 billion worldwide.

Disney’s most recent major acquisition was Marvel Entertainment in 2009. Disney bought Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion in 2006.

  1. Wow. Be on the look out for Star Wars Fairy Princess Castle Land.

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  2. Much cheaper than building a new franchise from scratch.

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  3. The jokes are almost too easy. In reality, it feels strange that all of our childhood memories can be in a single theme park now. We call it The Adventures of Mickey and Luke…

    http://successfulworkplace.com/2012/10/30/the-adventures-of-mickey-and-luke/

    The good news is that Disney has the deep pockets to do great things with Star Wars if they take it in its original direction and not the ‘ewok path’.

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  4. Usually when a childs wildest dream gets monetized it isn’t fun anymore. The canon is in shambles and the Prequel Trilogy was tepid at best. I’m eager to be proven wrong but I’ll just have to see how it goes. Funny how ones favorite franchises are being retconned at an absurdly high frequency and I have to explain to my children that there is truly nothing new under the sun. I wager Disney will go the Phantom Menace/Ewok route rather than push the envelope and capture the entire fanbase. Either way they’ll get paid and geeks will hold their collective heads down in shame. Atleast Star Trek (2009) got it right. :(

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