Disney to acquire Pixar

The Walt Disney Co. has said it is buying longtime partner Pixar Animation Studios Inc. for $7.4 billion in stock in a deal that could restore Disney’s clout in animation while vaulting Pixar CEO Steve Jobs into a powerful role at the media conglomerate.

The deal could restore Disney's clout in animation

Disney’s purchase of the maker of the blockbuster films “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo” would make Jobs Disney’s largest shareholder, with about a 7% stake.


Jobs, who owns more than half of Pixar’s shares and also heads Apple Computer Inc., will also join Disney’s board.


Robert Iger, the Disney Chief Executive, in a statement on Tuesday said: “With this transaction, we welcome and embrace Pixar’s unique culture, which for two decades, has fostered some of the most innovative and successful films in history.”


Disney has co-financed and distributed Pixar’s animated films for the past 12 years, splitting the profits. That deal expires in June after Pixar delivers “Cars” and it had once appeared the companies would not renew it amid friction between Jobs and former Disney CEO Michael Eisner.


New relationship


But the talks revived under Iger, who became Disney CEO last October. Disney, the theme park owner that also owns the ABC and ESPN TV networks, and Pixar had talked for months about a new relationship.


The two companies will remain separate, with Pixar staying in Emeryville and retaining its brand name. Maintaining Pixar’s unique creative character was a priority in the talks, executives said.


Under the deal, Disney said it will issue 2.3 shares for each share of Pixar stock. At Tuesday’s closing price of $25.99 for Disney, Pixar shareholders would get stock worth $59.78, a 4% premium over Pixar’s closing price of $57.57.


The deal, which is subject to regulatory and Pixar shareholder approvals, was announced after the markets closed for the day.

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