Over the years Disney has been making subtle and not so subtle acquisitions. Today’s announcement that Disney bought LucasFilms for just a touch over $4B (B for billion) was the big news. And a surprise.
This business deal was pulled off properly. No leaks, no rumors. Just two mega-entities having a business deal that did not need any media.
Lucasfilm also perates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.
That and in the same breath, Disney announced Star Wars sequels VII, VIII and IX. That can be good news. Or not. We’ll see.
But as far as acquisitions go, there are some that I know about because I’ve watched when it happened. So those are at the forefront of my mind. Those Disney properties include
- Hulu (Partial equity)
- Indiana Jobes franchise &
- Marvel Entertainment
But there are a ton of other companies that Disney owns. And it’s an amazing list of entertainment venues. Venues that helped generate $40B in sales in 2011. For instance,
The ABC Television Network encompasses 7 major networks & has 226 affiliated stations under their umbrella and (via their stake in Citadel Broadcasting Corporation), they own 277 radio stations.
TV Production & Distribution Companies includes 6 distribution companies, aka, ABC Studios and the like.
As far as the movie industry goes, for move production and distribution:
- Walt Disney Pictures,
- Touchstone Pictures,
- Miramax Films,
- Pixar Animation Studios,
- Hollywood Pictures,
- Buena Vista International, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Buena Vista Home Entertainment International
- & a few more.
They own dozens of cable TV networks
- 10 ESPN channels,
- Disney Channel HD,
- Toon Disney,
- ABC Family Channel,
- A&E Television Networks (37.5% equity) which also includes
- the History Channel,
- the Biography Channel,
- History en español,
- Military History Channel,
- Crime & Investigation Network,
Lifetime Entertainment Networks (50% equity)
Dis owns 10 International Channels
They develop several popular TV shows like Good Morning America, 20/20, Primetime, Sportscenter/Monday Night Football and a few more great shows.
They produce several magazines (For example: Family Fun, ESPN the Magazine, Bassmaster Magazine)
They distribute music and motion picture soundtracks under four labels:
- Walt Disney Records,
- Hollywood Records,
- Buena Vista Records,
- Lyric Street Records.
Disney Publishing owns Hyperion Books, Mirimax, ESPN books, Volo, Jump at the Sun. (And a few other titles not mentioned)
Their Internet Group which covers their TV and movie properties. (It’s a lot of web entities)
Of course, don’t forget their vacation destination parks and resorts like Disneyland (CA), Walt Disney World Resort (FL), Disneyland Resort Paris, Disney Cruise Line, and 11 other properties.
And now, Disney can start making Star Wars movies. Plus I’m sure we’ll start seeing LucasFilm properties injected into ABC shows. After Disney bought Marvel I started seeing iconic Marvel characters in the background of some shows. The most notable became visuals and mentions on Castle. (Now Castle can don his browncoat for Halloween one more time and wield a light saber at the same time!)
But it’s all good. Disney knows how to put things together, and if they head out and start making Star Wars movies, fans can hope they’ll take some care and guidance from George Lucas on the project. The animated series, The Clone Wars on Cartoon Network has been telling a great story, so I know it can be done… continue the franchise.
(To be honest, this deal was in the clues. The marketing machine of LucasFilm had changed how they were handling marketing media out to the press. I’m sure that was in preparation for this deal…)
So now… we have to keep our eyes peeled for any LucasFilm characters or icons in the next Marvel movie! Iron Man, with a light saber. Would that be sweet or what?
Here’s the press release concerning the purchase:
Burbank, CA and San Francisco, CA, October 30, 2012 – Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.
Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “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.”
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. 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. 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.”
Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.
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. Ms. 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.
The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of Star Wars content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.
Driven by a tremendously talented creative team, Lucasfilm’s legendary Star Wars franchise has flourished for more than 35 years, and offers a virtually limitless universe of characters and stories to drive continued feature film releases and franchise growth over the long term. Star Wars resonates with consumers around the world and creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks. 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. The franchise provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models including digital platforms, putting the acquisition in strong alignment with Disney’s strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.
The Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disney’s very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel, which demonstrated the company’s unique ability to fully develop and expand the financial potential of high quality creative content with compelling characters and storytelling through the application of innovative technology and multiplatform distribution on a truly global basis to create maximum value. Adding Lucasfilm to Disney’s portfolio of world class brands significantly enhances the company’s ability to serve consumers with a broad variety of the world’s highest-quality content and to create additional long-term value for our shareholders.
The Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm.