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Disney to acquire Lucasfilm, release new 'Star Wars' movie

UPI News Service, 10/30/2012 

Walt Disney Co. has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm and the U.S. entertainment giant said it will release a new live-action "Star Wars" movie.

Disney, based in Burbank, Calif., said Tuesday it has agreed to pay $4.05 billion for Lucasfilm, based in San Francisco, and plans to release a seventh live-action "Star Wars" film in 2015.

The acquisition includes control of the "Star Wars" franchise and ownership of the Industrial Light & Magic visual effects company, Skywalker Sound and LucasArts, a publisher of video games, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"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," Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said in a statement.

Disney intends to exploit the "Star Wars" franchise in its theme parks, consumer products, television and digital platforms, the Times reported.

The acquisition is part of Iger's push to expand Disney, including the 2009 acquisition of Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. Disney acquired Pixar -- the animation studio that turned out the "Toy Story" and "Cars" franchises -- in 2006.

George Lucas, the owner of Lucasfilm and director of the "Star Wars" live-action movies, announced in June he plans to retire.

He named producer Kathleen Kennedy to take over as chief executive, and Kennedy will become president of Lucasfilm if regulatory authorities approve the deal, the Times said.

"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," Lucas said in a statement. "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."

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