Disney CEO Bob Iger (left) and George Lucas, sole stockholder of Lucasfilm, seal the $4.05 billion deal. Photo: Disney.
By Clive Young.
New York, NY (October 31, 2012)—The Walt Disney Company will acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash deal worth $4.05 billion, the two companies announced Tuesday. While best-known for its Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, Lucasfilm is also the parent company to the noted audio post-production/recording facility Skywalker Sound, as well as LucasArts and Industrial Light & Magic. All the companies are being sold as part of the deal.
Skywalker Sound is located in the 155,000-square-foot Technical Building on the grounds of Skywalker Ranch, 40 minutes from San Francisco. Founded by director George Lucas in 1975 as Sprocket Systems, the facility has gone on to garner a total of 18 Academy Awards, along with numerous nominations. According to Disney and Lucas, “the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations,” but that said, Lucas’ three ranches outside San Francisco—two of which are essentially corporate campuses for his enterprises—are not part of the Disney deal.
As a result, industry speculation already envisions the various Lucasfilm companies moving south to Disney’s homebase of Los Angeles. For example, ex-Columbia Pictures president of marketing and distribution Peter Sealey opined to USA Today that such a move would be inevitable: “I don’t see how or why you keep any of this up in that area; it’ll all move down to Burbank.”
With the purchase, Disney adds to its already considerable retinue of companies, having acquired Marvel and Pixar in recent years—moves that have only benefited the parent company as each has had a string of hits. Lucasfilm is expected to follow in that tradition, starting with the intended release of a new trilogy of Star Wars films that will kick off in 2015.