By Christopher Palmeri and Michael White
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) agreed to buy George Lucas’s Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4.05 billion in cash and stock, adding “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” to a roster of film properties that includes “Iron Man” and “Nemo.”
About half of the price will be paid in cash and the balance in stock, Burbank, California-based Disney said today in a statement. A seventh “Star Wars” film is planned for release in 2015.
The acquisition brings to Disney, which paid a combined $11 billion for Pixar and Marvel over the past decade, two of the most lucrative movie franchises ever. The “Star Wars” films and their re-releases have generated $4.54 billion in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo. The “Indiana Jones” pictures have collected $1.95 billion.
“If Disney is really trying to focus on the tentpole, event pictures, and given that this is something that has huge carryover value in the parks and merchandise business, it certainly makes sense,” said Matthew Harrigan, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities in Denver. “This is just the paradigm of the sustainable Hollywood franchise.”
Disney fell 0.4 percent to $50.05 on Oct. 26, the last trading day before Hurricane Sandy forced markets to shut down. The stock has gained 34 percent this year.
Kathleen Kennedy, co-chairman of Lucasfilm with Lucas, its founder and sole owner, will become president of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn, according to the statement.
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