Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Community News Network

November 1, 2012

Disney's $4 billion 'Star Wars' deal spotlights Iger's bet

(Continued)

LOS ANGELES —

Disney stock had gained 34 percent this year before Wednesday.

Lucas, who will be a creative consultant on "Star Wars" films, will receive about 40 million Disney shares, becoming the second-largest non-institutional shareholder with about 2.2 percent of the company, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The largest is the trust of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who sold Pixar to Disney.

Talks between Disney and Lucas began a year and a half ago, Iger said Tuesday on a conference call.

"I'm investing in Disney, that's my retirement fund," Lucas said in a video Disney posted on Youtube. Lucasfilm was advised by the law firm Latham & Watkins.

Kathleen Kennedy, co-chairman of Lucasfilm with its founder, will become president of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn, according to the statement. On the call, Disney executives said they had no plans to develop Lucas films other than "Star Wars."

Kennedy, who co-founded Amblin Entertainment with director Steven Spielberg and produced "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" and "Jurassic Park," may expand the business, said Jeff Gomez, president of Starlight Runner Entertainment, a New York-based producer and adviser on film and video-game projects.

"Kathleen makes movies, she puts out product," Gomez said in an interview. "I have every reason to believe she's going to put out more product, and create new franchises on multiple media platforms."

With the acquisition, Disney also obtains Lucas's Industrial Light & Magic, the pioneering shop that gave "Star Wars" its dramatic visual appeal and made advanced special effects a must-have feature in adventure films. On the call, Iger said he intends to keep the business.

The purchase may boost Disney's money-losing interactive unit by adding LucasArts, home to video-game titles including "Lego Star Wars," "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed" and "Star Wars: Battlefront." The company recently announced a collaboration on an "Angry Birds: Star Wars" game with Rovio Entertainment Oy.

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