Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Harrison Ford as Han Solo in a scene from the original "Star Wars." (Photo: Lucasfilm)
Mickey Mouse can now feel the Force.
Disney (DIS) 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.
Disney expects to more aggressively expand the Star Wars film schedule, Disney CEO Robert Iger said in a statement. Following the release of Episode 7 in 2015, "our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years," Iger said in the statement.
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.
Written By: Matt Krantz, USA TODAY