Disney reportedly in talks to acquire Pixar Animation


In an undated handout image from Pixar, Dory, lower left, and Marlin, lower right, face an ocean full of perils in their efforts to rescue Nemo, including a close encounter with an unusual group of great white sharks, in this scene from Pixar Animation Studios "Finding Nemo." The Walt Disney Co. is in talks to buy Pixar Animation Studios Inc., the maker of the hit movies "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo," following months of exploring how to continue their profitable film distribution partnership, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Photos by The Associated Press
Published: Friday, January 20, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 20, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
The Walt Disney Co. is in serious talks to buy Pixar Animation Studios Inc., the maker of the hit movies "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo" among others, following months of exploring how to continue their profitable film distribution partnership, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Citing unnamed people familiar with the plan, the Journal said Disney would pay a nominal premium to Pixar's current market value of $6.7 billion under the deal being discussed in a stock transaction that would make Pixar chief executive Steve Jobs the largest individual shareholder in Disney.
The Journal said the outcome of the talks isn't certain, and that other options are possible.
Telephone messages left Thursday morning for Disney spokeswoman Michelle Bergman in Burbank, Calif., and Pixar's Michele Clarke in New York were not immediately returned.
Pixar shares rose $2.10, or 3.7 percent, to $59.36 in midday trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market while Disney shares gained 85 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $26.05 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Jobs is the largest shareholder in Pixar, with more than 60 million shares, or 50.6 percent, according to Pixar's filings with securities regulators last year. At its current share price, his stake is worth about $3.44 billion.
Jobs is already a force in the media business as he also heads Apple Computer Inc., which reported Wednesday that first-quarter income nearly doubled on record revenue and big demand for its iPod music players.
Disney and Pixar have been partners for more than 12 years, allowing Disney to distribute and co-finance popular and profitable Pixar movies. But Jobs said two years ago, amid squabbles with then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner, that he would end that relationship when it expires later this year and seek a new distribution partner.
Disney's current CEO Robert Iger, who took over last October, has reportedly made continuing the companies' relationship a priority. Iger last fall allowed Disney TV shows like "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" to be made available in a format that could be downloaded and played on iPods.
There have been weeks of speculation that Disney might try to take a stake in Pixar.
or buy it outright. The Journal said the companies are still haggling over a price, and any major moves in Pixar's stock price could disrupt negotiations. The newspaper said the two sides could decide on a less-ambitious plan, including an agreement for Disney to distribute movies that Pixar finances and makes.
Buzz Lightyear leads the toys from Andy's room on a mission to rescue their toynapped pal, Woody, in Disney/Pixar's computer animated comedy-adventure, "Toy Story 2."
Using orange cones for camouflage, Buzz Lightyear leads the toys from Andy's room on a mission to rescue their toynapped pal, Woody, in Disney/Pixar's computer animated comedy-adventure, "Toy Story 2." The Walt Disney Co. is in talks to buy Pixar Animation Studios Inc., the maker of the hit movies "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo," following months of exploring how to continue their profitable film distribution partnership, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top