George Lucas, the “Star Wars” creator who reaped $4 billion selling his company to Walt Disney Co. last year, invested a fraction of his fortune in Starbucks Corp. (SBUX), the world’s largest chain of coffee shops.
A trust controlled by Lucas bought almost $10 million of Starbucks shares, according to a filing yesterday by Mellody Hobson, the billionaire’s wife and a member of the Starbucks board. The couple married in June at Lucas’s Skywalker ranch in Marin County, California, and announced the birth of their daughter, Everest Hobson Lucas, this month.
Lucas, 69, in December sold Lucasfilm Ltd., whose movie franchises include “Indiana Jones” as well as “Star Wars,” to Disney for about $4 billion of cash and stock. The next month, he announced his engagement to Hobson, the president of Ariel Investments LLC, a Chicago-based money-management firm with $6.3 billion in assets as of June 30.
Hobson, 44, didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. Connie Wethington, a Lucas representative, said in an e-mail that “no comments or statements will be issued with regard to stock inquiries.”
According to the Form 4 that Hobson filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the GWL Living Trust bought 141,573 Starbucks shares on Aug. 19 at an average price of $70.60. As a Starbucks director, Hobson must report her transactions in company shares as well as those of her immediate family.
“These shares are held in a trust for the benefit of the reporting person’s spouse,” Hobson said in the Form 4 filing, adding that she disclaimed beneficial ownership of the stock. Lucas is the sole trustee and beneficiary of the trust.
Hobson, a board member at Seattle-based Starbucks since February 2005, serves on the audit committee. She was named the chairman of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA) last year and is a director at Estee Lauder Cos. and Groupon Inc. (GRPN)
Starbucks shares, having reached a 52-week high of $74.23 each on Aug. 2, rose 1.7 percent today to close at $71.90 in New York. The stock has climbed 34 percent this year.
In the first five days of August, Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz raised about $31 million through the sale of 418,000 company shares, according to a Form 4 filed with the SEC.
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