I wasn't surprised to see Disney (NYSE:DIS) announce that it will buy Lucasfilm this week.
The cash and stock deal initially valued at $4.05 billion makes perfect sense to anyone who has ever visited Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park in Florida. After all, bear left after going through the park's turnstiles, and you'll find the massive stage of an Indiana Jones stunt show. Walk a bit more and you'll run into the Star Wars-themed Star Tours attraction that was recently updated.
That's two George Lucas projects right there. The park also has Pixar Place and a Muppets 3-D film. Yes, the House of Mouse went on to acquire those properties, too. If it works in a Disney theme park and it's for sale, Disney will probably listen.
Fans of the sci-fi saga should be excited that Disney is ready to bankroll a seventh movie in the series. There won't be cameos by Mickey Mouse or The Jonas Brothers in the next Star Wars movie come 2015. When Disney cuts a ten-figure check -- as it did for Pixar and Marvel -- it's an admission that those characters are valuable on their own.
There was some skepticism when the Pixar and Marvel deals took place, but no one is complaining now. In a few years, Star Wars fans will be thanking Disney -- if they're not already thanking Disney now.
Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.
- LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD.DL) earned twice as much as Wall Street was expecting on Thursday. The social-networking website operator now has 185 million users. Sure, that's less than a fifth of the active monthly users on the world's leading hub, but there's something to be said about the monetization potential of white-collared professionals gathering online to conduct business.
- Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) posted uninspiring revenue growth on Monday, warning of more top-line growth deceleration in the current quarter. The valuation upside here is that China's leading online search engine is trading at an earnings multiple that is steep discount to even its reduced growth rate.
- Vringo (NYSEMKT: VRNG) shares tumbled 36% on Wednesday. A judge dramatically scaled back how far the company could go in suing for damages over patents that it recently acquired. The stock's been volatile, so investors can expect more wild swings up and down in the near term.