January 23, 2006 9:55 PM PST

Reports: Disney close to Pixar deal

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Behind Steve Jobs' plans for Pixar

February 22, 2004
Walt Disney Co.'s board of directors has given its approval to make an offer to buy Pixar Animation Studios, the independent studio responsible for hits such as "Toy Story" and "The Incredibles," according to published reports.

After day-long meetings on Monday, the entertainment giant's board gave Chief Executive Robert Iger the right to offer Pixar close to $7 billion in stock for an acquisition deal, the New York Times reported, citing "people briefed on the negotiations." The Wall Street Journal offered a similar account, saying the purchase price would offer a "small premium" for Pixar's shares. The company's stock closed Monday at $58.27, giving the company a market value of $6.93 billion.

The deal must still be approved by the Pixar board, and several critical details that could prevent its completion remained outstanding, several reports warned.

According to a separate report in Business Week, Pixar Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs would take a seat on Disney's board. Jobs would become the largest shareholder in Disney, owning about 7 percent of the company's stock, the magazine noted.

If completed, the deal itself is likely to be announced on Tuesday, reports said.

A Pixar representative declined to comment. However, people familiar with the situation told CNET News.com the Emeryville, Calif.-based company's board was to meet by telephone on Tuesday.

A Disney spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

The two companies have been negotiating over whether Disney would continue to distribute Pixar's work, as it has done since the smaller company's first feature film, "Toy Story," in 1995. Pixar's upcoming movie "Cars" will be the last film distributed under their previous relationship.

Pixar had broken off talks with Disney and then-CEO Michael Eisner in January 2004. However, relations between Jobs and Iger appear to have been far more cordial. The two appeared on stage together in October as Jobs launched Apple Computer's video iPod and a video store that included TV shows from Disney.

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The Steve Jobs Angle - There's Always A Catch
I have heard through numerous other reports that this deal,
when finalized, will make Steve Jobs among the (if not THE) top
shareholders in Walt Disney Co. It makes sense, to be sure; Jobs
was in a position to resist the takeover - his acquiescence
almost assures that he benefits greatly from the deal.

Disney, on the other hand, has seen in recent years that they
really need Pixar. Their non-Pixar animated films have been
flopping in comparison, and the volatility of the relationship
almost forced them to cut a binding, long-term deal with the
Mad Dog (Mad Mouse now?) and Pixar Animation Studios.

It's the technological implications of this deal that have me
interested. Apple Computers (Job's other brain-child) and Disney
have grown increasingly close over the past year. Disney was
among the first studios to align with Apple to offer
downloadable videos via the iTunes software (through ABC
television shows and Disney-Pixar jointly-produced animated
shorts). Disney and Apple also both sit on the "board" for the
emerging next-generation media, BD-ROM (Blu-ray).

If Jobs really does become a majority stake holder in Disney, it's
likely that Apple and Disney will become as "merged" as Disney
and Pixar. It will be interesting to see what exactly this deal
brings to the table in terms of future technology.

One thing can be assured: if it's not done already, Disney will
soon be switching their servers and clients to Mac OS. And
they'll likely get a major discount.
Posted by anassassinoftime (170 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Disney's already Mac/Apple
Disney is already deep into Apple. They use Macs, and their
main office database is Filemaker Pro (owned by Apple).

The only thing that can happen with Steve Jobs being the
majority stock holder is that Disney will have to get rid of all the
cheesy trappings that has made them so tacky over the past 40
years. They'll have to drop the "mediocre is good enough"
philosophy in making movies, entertainment, creative efforts.

This can only be good for Disney. And unless it's done right, it
can only be bad for Pixar. This is like merging Motel 6 and the
Four Seasons.
Posted by ewelch (767 comments )
Link Flag
A shot of "Imagineering"
Having literally grown up with Disney (all 50 years) I have seen
the company expand with every new and inovative idea that Mr.
Walt Disney produced. From cartoons to Disneyland to Epcot
Center. I still vividly remember Walt explaining his model of
Epcot and Disney World. Every step advancing the latest
techniology without losing the artistc and entertaining edge.
Such harmony of entertainment and technology has never been
achieved more than by Walt. After his death and especially over
the past ten years the company has lost its vision and so has
lost its way.
Then there is Steve Jobs. I have been a MAC user since the the
start. My MAC Plus still is stored in its case and can even still be
started. For a time Apple lost its visionary and losts its way but
when Steve Jobs returned to Apple the vison was restored.
Disney is on the threshhold of being revived and vison returned.
Look what he did with the Lucus company, now called Pixar. I
have said for over a year that there is no one who can match the
"imagineering" of Walt Disney, but for Steve Jobs.
Who does it benefit most, Pixar or Disney? What about Apple?
The answer is that we benefit and my grand kids will benefit the
most.
Let the fun begin!
Posted by Bob Ybarra (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Not necessarily a good move...
Steve is a big frog in a pretty good sized pond (Pixar) right now
with 51% holdings. Disney is a great big pond, but Steve will be a
small frog with only 7% holdings. He could be voted off the board
in a flash. Once Disney captures Pixar's animation skills, Steve is
surplus.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
He can't be voted off...
...without the news of such action causing a massive sell-off of
Disney shares and a large drop in the stock price. The board would
know this.
Posted by chabig83 (535 comments )
Link Flag
Have you EVER thought...
That maybe Steve Jobs (Apple Corp) wants Disney to buy Pixar, because he's planning a strategic loop hole/plan to be on Microsoft's Board of Directors, that you can't understand. For example if he is on Microsoft's then he will know whats going to happen next and what they are planning, then he could improve Apple first and unleash it before Microsoft does for seem like they're copying Apple not the other way around. That could then unleash into a massive war against the two companies which Apple could win or the end up how they are now. YOU NEVER NOW, but I do...
Posted by RifleChebs (4 comments )
Link Flag
Please NO! It will kill Pixar :(
That's really sad news. I'd hate to see the Pixar's funny, creative, interesting, innovative movies with the LAME, BORING, CHILDISH Disney movies.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
One could hope...
You would hope that board at disney would be intelligent enough to, if they do purchase pixar, leave their operations alone, and treat them as a seperate entity. If the leave the talent at pixar alone, and simply do the distribution, I don't see this being a problem. Yet with Disney, I doubt this would be the case.
Posted by Rolndubbs (194 comments )
Link Flag
As opposed too....
You mean, as opposed to the steaming and white-hot adult Pixar movies? :)

Make your peace with it, because I don't see this not happening, nor does anybody else.

NWLB
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.NWLB.net" target="_newWindow">http://www.NWLB.net</a>
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
Link Flag
I HAVE TO DISAGREE COMPLETELY
For one, some of Disney movies a childish, BECAUSE THEY'RE MADE FOR CHILDREN, but none of them are lame, they maybe to you because your probally 40 or 50 years old. Also Disney makes many other non-childish movies, for example THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN or GLORY ROAD.
Also all of Disney's movies have gotten on the "Top 10" List and none of Pixar's movies have, execpt the ones Disney did with them, and I think and many other people probally agree with me, and it may not be the people who read Cnet, but the people who watch their MOVIES, would say the probally would do better permanatly being joint with Disney, (not only for movies.)
Posted by RifleChebs (4 comments )
Link Flag
 

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