Businessweek published a five-page article How Disney Bought Lucasfilmâ€”and Its Plans for ‘Star Wars’ a few days ago and it is a fascinating read as to how the $4 billion dollar deal came about. It’s told mostly from the point of view of Robert Iger, CEO of Walt Disney, the man responsible for their acquisition of first Pixar, then Marvel, and now Lucasfilm. I did not know this but he and George had actually worked together in the past on Young Indiana Jones when Iger was at ABC. Fast forward a few years, Iger’s running Disney, Lucas is ready to retire, and they meet for breakfast:
On the morning of the Star Tours opening, Iger met Lucas for breakfast at the Hollywood Brown Derby, one of Disney Worldâ€™s restaurants. It was closed for the occasion so the two men could speak freely. Fresh from his daily workout, Iger ordered a yogurt parfait. Lucas treated himself to one of the Brown Derbyâ€™s larger omelets. The two exchanged pleasantries. Then Iger inquired whether Lucas would ever consider selling his company.
Lucas replied that heâ€™d recently celebrated his 67th birthday and was starting to think seriously about retiring. So perhaps the sale of his company was inevitable. â€œIâ€™m not ready to pursue that now,â€ he told Iger. â€œBut when I am, Iâ€™d love to talk.â€
Iger did his best to conceal his excitement and told him to â€œcall me when youâ€™re ready.â€ Then it was time for the two to arm themselves for a mock light saber battle to open the attraction. They joined an actor in a Darth Vader costume on a stage before several hundred cheering Star Wars fans. Iger was impressed by Lucasâ€™s skills. â€œHe just has this way of carrying that light saber,â€ Iger recalls. â€œHe was more adept at using it than me.â€
The article goes on to detail George’s reluctance in selling to just anyone and his propensity to maintain control is apparent throughout the negotiating process. It really is an interesting read and worth the time if you’ve got a few minutes to kill.
Thanks go to Studebaker in the forums for the link.