The deal was made with the company’s founder and film director George Lucas and includes production companies Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound as well as the rights to the Indiana Jones franchise.
Disney also revealed plans to release a seventh live-action Star Wars film, episode seven, in 2015 followed by a movie every “two to three years”. Disney will also look to use the Star Wars franchise throughout its businesses including theme parks, consumer products, television and digital platforms.
The company says the Star Wars brand “provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models.”
The deal continues the corporation’s chief executive Bob Iger’s strategy of growing the Disney brand through acquisitions. In 2009 it acquired Marvel Entertainment for $4 (£2.5bn), that resulted in this year’s hit blockbuster ‘The Avengers’ and in 2006 it acquired Toy Story and Cars maker Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4bn (£4.6bn).
In a statement announcing the acquisition, Iger says: “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.”