George Lucas, the former owner of production company Lucasfilm Ltd, does not intend to offload his 2.1% stake in US entertainment giant The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), his spokesperson told Bloomberg in an e-mail.
Disney has submitted a regulatory filing saying Lucas is allowed to shed his USD2bn (EUR1.5bn) stake at his discretion. The representative noted that this was a required move in connection with the company’s cash-and-stock purchase of Lucasfilm, which closed in December.
With the 37.1m shares Lucas received as part of the sale, he now ranks as the second- largest non-institutional stockholder in Disney. At the time of the agreement, the Hollywood Reporter said the filmmaker intends to donate the majority of the proceeds to education.
The creator of the Star Wars franchise, who was worth about $3bn before the deal, has plans for a major “Bill Gates-style philanthropic initiative,” focusing on education and health issues, the report said.
Lucas is already known for his charitable donations, supporting charities such as Make-A-Wish, Stand up to Cancer, and in 2006 he gave $175m to his alma mater University of Southern California (USC).
In 2010, he signed The Giving Pledge effort created by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett to get America’s wealthiest individuals and families “to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice either during their lifetime or after their death.”
Disney is planning to release a new Star Wars film in 2015, episode seven, which will be followed by episodes eight and nine, the company said in a statement announcing the deal.
“It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of film-makers,” Lucas said shortly after the sale was announced.
The deal follows Disney’s acquisitions of Pixar studios for $7.4bn in 2006 and Marvel comics for $4.2bn in 2009.