The Walt Disney Company has announced its acquisition of Lucasfilm.
The deal, a stock and cash transaction to the value of $4.05 billion, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm - including the Star Wars franchise - along with its other studios such as video game developer LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound.
Disney says that the "present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations".
George Lucas focused on the continuation of his crown jewel - the Star Wars franchise - in a statement accompanying the announcement, in which he stated that it was "important to set up the transition" of Star Wars to "a new generation of filmmakers" during his lifetime.
"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," said Lucas.
"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."
Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said "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."
The announcement also confirmed production on Star Wars: Episode 7, for a targeted release in 2015. The film's executive producer will be Kathleen Kennedy, the current co-chairman of Lucasfilm who will become president of Lucasfilm as part of the Disney acquisition. George Lucas will serve as 'creative consultant'.