Media giant Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) just adds another jewel to its crown.
The firm announced yesterday that it has purchased Star Wars franchise owner Lucasfilm from founder George Lucas in a cash-and-stock purchase worth more than $4 billion.
The deal gives Disney complete control of the Star Wars franchise that Lucas helmed for almost 40 years. The studio plans to release Star Wars Episode VII sometime in 2015 and continue with a new film in the series every two or three years.
The deal also includes the Indiana Jones franchise, as well as Lucasfilm’s production houses International Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound.
The acquisition is the latest in a line of such for Disney. Over the past few years, the company has purchased ABC, Pixar and Marvel. The results — including Toy Story 3, Cars, Iron Man and this summer’s mega-hit The Avengers — have resulted in huge successes for Disney.
20th Century Fox, owned by News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA), has released the Star Wars films since 1977. Executives there say they weren’t aware that a deal was under way, and they were given no chance to bid on Lucasfilm.
Lucas, who in the deal received 40 million shares of Disney stock as well as $2 billion in cash, will not be involved in the management or operations of the studio once the sale is complete.