Two months after announcing its plans, The Walt Disney Co. completes its $4.06 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm.
Two months after announcing its plans, according to a report by Variety, The Walt Disney Co. has completed its $4.06 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm.
Under terms of the merger agreement, Disney issued 37,076,679 shares and made acash payment of $2,208,199,950.
Disney made the announcement at the close of trading on the New York Stock Exchange last week on Friday, where Disney stock closed at $50 a share.
Disney surprised Hollywood on October 30 when it unveiled its agreement to buy Lucasfilm Ltd. from George Lucas. Kathleen Kennedy, who was tapped by Lucas as his successor in June, will serve as president of Lucasfilm, overseeing all aspects of the Star Wars franchise, and reporting to Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.
Transaction closed relatively swiftly, likely spurred by the potential capital gains tax increases next year. An expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts means an automatic capital gains jump from 15 percent to 23.8 percent, which has sped up activity in the mergers and acquisitions space.
Additionally, Disney has been one of the most proactive media conglomerates in addressing the potential fiscal cliff at the end of the year -- when income taxes would go up on almost everyone. In November, Disney boosted its annual dividend to shareholders by 25 percent to 75¢ a share.
Plans for the release of a new Star Wars feature in 2015 have been spotlighted since the acquisition announcement. The deal also gives Disney future possibilities in the Indiana Jones franchise, and other films in development at Lucasfilm, along with VFX shop Industrial Light & Magic, audio post house Skywalker Sound, and videogame developer LucasArts.
"We're thrilled to welcome Lucasfilm to the Disney family," said Disney topper Robert Iger in a statement. "Star Wars is one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time and this transaction combines that world class content with Disney's unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets, which we believe will generate growth as well as significant long-term value."
Disney plans to release a new Star Wars film every two to three years, beginning with Star Wars: Episode VII in 2015, the same year it has scheduled its sequel to The Avengers.
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.