Walt Disney Co has agreed to purchase George Lucas's Lucasfilm Ltd and its Star Wars franchise for $4.05 billion in cash and stock. About half of the purchase price will be in cash. Disney will also issue about 40 million shares at the closing of the deal. After the deal closes, Lucas will become the second-largest individual holder of Disney shares with a 2.2 percent stake in the company.
Disney's Chief Executive Bob Iger has said the company plans to release at least three more films in the Star Wars series. The most recent Star Wars movie, Revenge of the Sith, was released in 2005. In the past, George Lucas had denied plans for new Star Wars films. However, in a video interview released on Starwars.com, Lucas admitted he has already created story treatments that outline three additional films. As part of the deal with Disney, Lucas will serve as a creative consultant on the new films.
The next Star Wars movie will be Episode 7, followed by Episodes 8 and 9. Disney plans to release a new movie in the series every two to three years thereafter, according to Iger. The purchase of Lucasfilm will lower Disney's earnings in fiscal 2013 and 2014. Disney plans to repurchase all of the issued shares on the open market within the next two years, in addition to other planned buybacks.
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