Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Business

Disney to buy Lucas' empire for $4 billion, continue 'Star Wars' saga

Walt Disney Co. has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in a surprise deal that gives the media giant control of the Star Wars franchise.

Along with the purchase, Disney announced that it plans to release a seventh live-action Star Wars movie in 2015.

The agreement continues chief executive Bob Iger's strategy of growing Disney through huge acquisitions that give the Burbank, Calif., company control of key pieces of intellectual property. In 2009, Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion, a deal that resulted in this year's hit The Avengers. In 2006, Disney acquired Toy Story and Cars maker Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion.

"This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney's unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value," Iger said in a statement.

In addition to Star Wars, Disney's purchase of San Francisco-based Lucasfilm will give it ownership of special-effects company Industrial Light & Magic, sound company Skywalker Sound and video game publisher LucasArts.

In June, Star Wars director and Lucasfilm owner George Lucas announced his plans to retire, and named producer Kathleen Kennedy as chief executive of Lucasfilm, which he wholly owns. Once the Disney acquisition is complete, Kennedy will become president of Disney's Lucasfilm unit and report to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.

For fans, the most stunning part of Tuesday's announcement is likely Disney's intention to make more Star Wars movies. Following the one targeted for release in 2015, the company said "more feature films (are) expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future."

In addition to new movies, Disney will look to use the Star Wars franchise throughout its businesses, including theme parks, consumer products, television and digital platforms.

"I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime," George Lucas said in a statement. "I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney's reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products."

Disney is funding about half of the purchase price with cash and the rest by issuing 40 million shares of stock. Regulatory authorities must still approve the acquisition before it can close.

Comments
Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

CLEARWATER — A longtime IBM executive is becoming the new leader of Tampa Bay’s largest public company. Tech Data announced Richard "Rich" Hume as its new CEO effective June 6. Hume joined Tech Data two years ago and is currently the chief operating ...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg Police on Thursday closed two assisted living facilities, citing "deplorable conditions," including no running water. The facilities are run by Tampa Bay Behavioral Health, located at 3434 Second Ave. S and 3418 Second Ave. S, accordin...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

When LA Fitness on West Hillsborough Ave. reopens mid-summer, it will have undergone a $5 million renovation and a complete transformation. Closed since November 2017, the 10-year-old facility was completely torn down and is still undergoing construc...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

A new program that teaches coding to kids is coming to the Tampa Bay area. Code Ninjas is a Houston-based franchise that is opening its first location in Westchase in early May. There are plans for other centers in Carrollwood, South Tampa, New Tampa...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Graze all day at Armature Works

Graze all day at Armature Works

TAMPA HEIGHTS— Graze 1910 upholds the comfortable and relaxing, yet elegant setting of Armature Works with its "comfort food" offerings and dedication to serving breakfast all day."It’s the way I eat. I graze all day," said owner Raymond "Ray" Menend...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs to debut East Club Stadium at Raymond James Stadium

Bucs to debut East Club Stadium at Raymond James Stadium

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare for the upcoming 2018 season with luxury renovations to its East Stadium Club featuring everything new and modern.These enhancements are the fourth phase of the nearly $160 million renovation of Raymond James Stadium,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

TAMPA — The old Trump tower site on Tampa’s Riverwalk has for years remained empty as a knocked-out tooth, but on Thursday developers put flesh on a vision for what they tout as Tampa’s tallest building, with its most exclusive set of condominiums an...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

ST. PETERSBURG — Those who use mass transit across the Tampa Bay area can ride for free on Sunday.To celebrate Earth Day, both the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will be offering...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

TAMPA — At the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, hotelier Ian Schrager transformed a Jazz Age building with its own rich history into a destination offering even more heady experiences — extravagant, edgy and bohemian.In Tampa, Schager will have ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Downtown’s success creates noisy problem for St. Petersburg

Downtown’s success creates noisy problem for St. Petersburg

Times Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG — Downtown’s rapid growth has not been without tension between its residents and the businesses and events that draw exuberant crowds. The city, which has been attempting to amend its noise ordinance o...
Updated: 7 hours ago