The Walt Disney Co. is buying Lucasfilm for about $4.05 billion in stock and cash. Lucasfilm is best known for its lucrative Star Wars franchise. Disney will makeStar Wars: Episode VII for release in 2015.
With this purchase, Disney is expanding in the tent-pole feature film business. In recent years, Disney has expanded here by buying Pixar and Marvel.
The Pixar acquisition brought Apple’s then-CEOSteve Jobs to Disney’s board of directors. Interestingly, Pixar was born as the Graphics Group in 1979, a part of Lucasfilm. In 1986, Pixar was spun out with financing by Steve Jobs. In 2006, Disney bought Pixar for $7.4 billion making Jobs the largest shareholder of Disney stock.
Not only does Disney have a track record of digesting operations similar to Lucasfilm, there are lots of synergies here. Disney will be better able to monetize the Star Wars franchise by incorporating it into theme parks, games, Disney TV and merchandising. It is not clear how existing Lucasfilm deals will affect monetization with Fox, owned by News Corp., and Paramount owned by Viacom.