George Lucas sells Lucasfilm Ltd. to The Walt Disney Company – announcing his retirement from producing large scale blockbuster films and instead re-focusing his career on smaller, independently budgeted features.
Disney is paying $4.05 billion, approximately half of it in cash and half in stock, for rights to the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.
The deal includes Lucasfilm’s post production businesses, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and Skywalker Sound, and a suite of cutting edge entertainment technologies.
Kathleen Kennedy becomes president of Lucasfilm and serves as executive producer on the new Star Wars films, starting with Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). Lucas continues as a creative consultant.
The deal follows Disney’s acquisitions of Pixar studios for $7.4 billion in 2006 and Marvel comics for $4.2 billion in 2009.
With the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, Lucas is currently Disney’s second largest single shareholder after the estate of Steve Jobs.
Lucas announces to give half of his fortune to charity as part of an effort called The Giving Pledge led by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to persuade America’s richest individuals to donate their financial wealth to charities.