The Walt Disney Company has announced plans to purchase Lucasfilm Ltd. from founder George Lucas. The film company loved by millions of Star Wars fans worldwide will soon change hands as part of a deal valued at $4.05 billion.

Lucas, who owns 100 percent of Lucasfilm, will receive roughly 40 million shares in Disney with the remaining sum being paid in cash. Based on the current value of Disney shares ($50.08), the deal is split nearly right down the middle in terms of shares versus cash.

In a statement, Lucas said it was simply time for him to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. He noted that he always believed the franchise would live beyond him and that it was important to set up that transition during his 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," Lucas said. "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."

Kathleen Kennedy is the current co-chairman of Lucasfilm and will become president of the company once the acquisition is complete, according to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Under her leadership, it does indeed appear that Disney will continue the Star Wars franchise.

In addition to the acquisition, the company also announced plans to produce a seventh Star Wars film, aptly named "Star Wars: Episode VII," which should be ready for theaters in 2015. In fact, Lucas himself said he already has story treatments for the next three films and several other movies that will be passed to Kennedy for consideration.