(By Balaseshan) Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) said it has agreed to buy Lucasfilm Ltd., which is 100% owned by its Chairman and Founder George Lucas and includes legendary Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, for $4.5 billion.
The Lucasfilm acquisition, which also includes its operating businesses Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, follows Disney's very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel.
Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, the stock and cash transaction value is $4.05 billion with Disney paying about half in cash and issuing about 40 million shares at closing.
Disney expects the acquisition to be dilutive to its EPS by low single digit percentage points in fiscal 2013 and 2014 and become accretive to EPS in 2015.
"We continue to believe our shares are attractively priced at current levels and therefore, we currently intend to repurchase all of the shares issued within the next two years-- and that's in addition to what we planned to repurchase in the absence of the transaction," said Jay Rasulo, Chief Financial Officer of Walt Disney.
Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney's global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise.
Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.
Disney expects to create significant value in the film business. The company plans to release the first new Star Wars film in 2015, and then plans to release one film every two to three years.
These films will be released and distributed as part of Disney's target slate of 8 to 10 live-action films per year, and will augment Disney's already strong creative pipeline for many years to come. Lucasfilm has not released a Star Wars film since Revenge of the Sith in 2005.
Star Wars feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box to date, and continued global demand has made Star Wars one of the world's top product brands, and Lucasfilm a leading product licensor in the United States in 2011.
DIS closed Friday's regular session at $50.08. The stock has been trading between $33.28 and $53.40 for the past 52 weeks.