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Steve Jobs to Sell Pixar and Join Disney Board? 274

Posted by Zonk
from the wherefor-will-apple-go? dept.
mikeisme77 writes "According to the Washington Post, Pixar Studios is in discussions with Disney for a possible merger/buy out. Disney would own Pixar in exchange for $6.7 billion worth of stock in the Walt Disney Corp. Speculation has also arisen that such a deal may lead to Steve Jobs earning a position on Disney's board of directors. He would likely become Disney's largest individual share holder. Further speculation sees Jobs using his new found power to leverage Disney into releasing more content to the iTunes media service." Details also available from the Time Magazine site. We touched on this issue near the end of last year as well.
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Steve Jobs to Sell Pixar and Join Disney Board?

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  • by chriss (26574) * <chriss@memomo.net> on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:25PM (#14521638) Homepage

    It's funny that most speculation is about how well Apples digital media distribution would fit to Disneys movie and merchandising franchise, when Disney is considering Pixar, not Apple. And there are a number of interesting things Disney could gain from Pixar besides the movie franchise. People.

    When Apple went looking for a new operating system to replace the classic Mac OS, they ended up (after looking inhouse and at BeOS and even WinNT) with NeXTSTEP from Steve Jobs new company NeXT [wikipedia.org]. They did not license NeXTSTEP (or the OpenStep Specification NeXT developed in corporation with Sun), instead they bought NeXT for $US 400 million. Steve Jobs came onboard as a consultant, but shortly after that replaced Gibert Amelio as CEO of Apple. He was not the only one, NeXTs Avi Tevanian became President of Software technology (I think), in charge of Apples OS development, other NeXT employees (Jon Rubinstein, Bud Tribble etc) got top positions at Apple. A lot of people considered this Apple paying money NeXT to take over Apple.

    Disney is worth about 60 billion. If they buy Pixar for seven, the new Disney + Pixar should be worth about 67 billion (mind my non-existent knowledge about company evaluation), about 5% of which would belong to Steve Jobs (he owns 50% of Pixar). Apple was worth more than 20 times the $400 million they payed for NeXT when they bought it, they had seven billion in cash reserve alone, and they payed in cash, not stocks.

    So maybe we will see another reverse takeover. I do not believe that Steve Jobs would want to become CEO (but will most likely join the board), but Edwin Catmull [wikipedia.org] could become head of the animation and feature film branch or John Lasseter [wikipedia.org] could become Disneys "creative director". He already worked there before joining Pixar (than Lucasfilm Computer Graphics Group). The quality of Disneys productions could only go up.

    • The quality of Disneys productions could only go up.

      Or Pixar could go way down. I hope you're right, and that the Pixar folks will run wild into Disney - but it's a hell of a beast to tame. I'd actually fear that Disney would feel a need to "ensure Pixar's ongoing creative success" and then screw it up.

      Just like when Dinsney's second golden age of animation was born (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King) - it became a valuble commodity, and the suits felt the need to 'protect' it. The next think you know, the creative guys are jumping ship, and you're left with drek like "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

    • The first thing I thought of when I saw the headline: Will Steve Jobs soon be the new CEO of Disney?

      I wouldn't put it past him, though I'm sure that many would think it a strange idea. He's already shown that he can be very charismatic, and that he knows how to run a company. IHMO, having Jobs at the helm of Disney might actually be an improvement. Disney's been dying for years due primarily to poor leadership. Unfortunately, they're just to big to completely die off. So getting Jobs to inject some of his o
    • The Apple/Next fiasco is well documented and I dont think you should use it as a historical yardstick here.

      It does make a great read though. Life really is stranger than fiction sometimes, and Steve Jobs has a way of making it so.

      My mother-in-law has a rather unusual claim to fame. At a dinner with Steve Jobs once ( my father-in-law used to work for Apple, ) Steve asked her if she used the Apple-II her husband had been given.

      "Oh no, I just dust it", she said.

      I'd have loved to have been a fly on the wall the
    • If Disney is worth 60 bill and buys pixar for 7 billion then they will still be worth 60 billion. They pay 7 billion and get a company that is presumably worth 7 billion so their total market valuation does not change.

      And no Steve will not take over Disney. The corporate culture there is so tight, it is very unlikely they will let any outsider in. Disney shareholders have been trying to get rid of Eisner unsuccesfully for ages.
      • If Disney is worth 60 bill and buys pixar for 7 billion then they will still be worth 60 billion.

        If Disney is worth 60 billions before and after the aquisition, and Pixar is worth 7 billions before and does not exist anymore afterwards, where did the 7 billion go?

        • Disney starts at 60 billion of assets - 60 billion of shareholder ownership.
          Pixar starts at 7 billion of assets - 7 billion of shareholder ownership.

          Disney gives the Pixar shareholders 7 billion of assets (cash) for their 7 billion of assets (Pixar).

          Now Pixar shareholders have 7 billion of assets (cash) and Disney has 60 billion of assets (60 billion - 7 billion in cash + 7 billion in Pixar).

          In other words, no money disappeared, assets just changed hands. As usual, this is all very subjective in terms of p
        • Let's look at it this way. Note - I don't want to simplify to the point of being insulting, just trying to help.

          Let's pretend that each company is nothing more than a shell - a big ass bank account. This makes it easy to do the math. So Disney, Inc. has one assett - a checking account with $60B. Pixar has one assett, a checking account with $7B. Each company has issued stock to various people, which gives them the right to "control" the company (or, in other words, what it does with its cash).

          The value
        • 7 billion dollars will have been transferred from Disney to the investors of Pixar, if Disney purchases Pixar with cash.

          In actual fact, Disney will probably purchase Pixar with stock, which basically means that all Pixar stock becomes Disney stock (at an exchange rate that both sides feel is favorable) and the combined company would be worth 67 billion.
    • I guess I see this is a path for an Apple/Disney merger. I'm not quite sure what that'd mean but it'd seem to be a better fit than the AOL/Time Warner merge. Apple and Pixar represent technology as art which is what Disney really needs to reclaim it's soul. Apple could leverage the Disney name and content to really make a strong move in the digital media market. I think Disney still owns ABC too which would just be more content at their fingertips. It seems it could be a powerful money making combination.

      Yo
    • by PortHaven (242123) on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:55PM (#14521901) Homepage
      I believe the set-up is as follows:

      - Disney gains Pixar (the vast majority of hit (bread & butter) Disney films in the past decade have been from Pixar).

      - Steve Jobs loses control of Pixar but gains a seat on the board + becomes #1 share-holder.

      - Steve negotiates sweet deal with Disney (and don't ABC or something), for said movies to be made available on Apple iPod. (And you know that Yuppieville will start filling their 8 yr old's iPods with with Pixar films before every road trip). Lots of $$$ for Apple and even more cash for Disney.

      - Disney's stocks increase, meanwhile Steve jobs acquires additional stock 5% to approx. 6-8%. The increased success of Disney stock builds near unanimous support for Steve Jobs to be CEO of Disney. (If you know anything about Steve Jobs his IDOL is Walt Disney! So this has likely been his life dream/goal since being young.

      - Steve Jobs as CEO re-vitalizes Disney. Disney theme parks return to being places full of wonder, awe, amazing new technologies on Display for the common people to see. (And yes, all the displays have little rainbow colored Apples on them.)

      In truth, I think Disney greatly needs an eccentric visionary like Steve Jobs to return it back to "dreams". To Steve Jobs, Disney is not just about $$$. It's about dreams. And for the past few decades Disney's dream has solely been $$$. The end result, no vision, no dreams. Nothing to stir up the human sole. Less interest and love for Disney. Equating to less $$$. Steve Jobs has the philosophy the $$$ will come as a by-product of the vision. And I believe he's right. In truth, I think there is an opportunity to see Disney re-vitalized in a kinda second birth. Steve Jobs loves show-casing. Loves grand-standing (in the style of a circus leader). A revitalized Disney allows him to do such. And would bring back a central character for the first time since the passing of Walt Disney himself.

      I actually hope this all goes thru....

      - Saj
      • Steve jobs is great friends with Roy Disney, Jr. who has been a dissident against the Disney board for years (even suing them). I wonder if his stakes plus Jobs post-merge stake would be enough for them to take over... Or if their combined stake would be enough to help Apple buy Disney :) One thing's for sure, if jobs gets control over Disney, Disneyland is going to be insanely great. Can you imagine what the RDF would do? You'll shit your pants. ...but seriously, Jobs in control of Disney would put A
    • by jordandeamattson (261036) <jordandm@gma i l . c om> on Friday January 20, 2006 @05:35PM (#14522249) Homepage
      Hi Chris -

      While I agree with you, that Steve has an incredible ability to come out on top (I was there at ground zero when Apple bought NeXT), and it is likely that a post-acquisition Jobs would have tremendous influence over Disney, there are some errors in your analysis.

      1. Disney is currently worth just show of $50 billion (look at market capitalization at http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=DIS>).

      2. Jobs only controls approximately half of Pixar, with Pixar valued at just show of 7 billion http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=PIXR> as you said.

      3. The deal would likely be a stock swap, not a cash deal, for various tax reasons. The new entity would likely be valued at between $55 and $60 billion, with Jobs controlling a $3 billion slice, or as you said 5%, of Disney.

      4. While owning 5% of Disney is nothing to sneeze at, realize that Roy Disney controlled close to 17 million shares of Disney (close to 1%) as well as popular backing and wasn't able to get what he wanted.

      Disney is a much different company from Apple in early 1997. It has plenty of money in the bank (Apple had closer to $2 billion in cash vs. the $7 billion you describe), has strong free cash flow (wheras things were quite shakey at Apple), and is on a rebound vs. heading downward. Remember it was only at MacWorld in the summer of 1997, that things started to turnaround with the famous investment of Microsoft in Apple and the promise to keep Office on the Mac for 5 years.

      For Apple, Jobs was - rightfully - viewed as a savior, the only one who could turn this company around. At Disney, Jobs will be just another person at the boardroom table. Will he be a first among equals? Definitely! Will he be able to call all of the shots? No.

      And in that fact, that he won't be able to call all the shots, is the truth that Jobs would not likely stay long on the board. Jobs is one who has to control things completely. If he can't, then he will walk away.

      I firmly believe that if Pixar is sold to Disney, that Steve will not be long with Disney. Will he leave his mark on the company? Definitely. His people - like John Lasseter - will be in senior positions prior to his leaving. But he won't be around for long.

      And that is a shame. Disney - based on our family's latest experience at Disneyland - really could use someone with Steve's drive for quality and attention to detail to bring back the fabled "Disney experience".

      Yours,

      Jordan
      • Is it not the case, however, that Disney has been looking for a good CEO for a while, what with the wretched Eisner mess? Maybe Jobs figures that when Eisner finally exits, stage right, the company will be looking for someone just as strong-willed but a tad less, er, stupid, not to put too fine a point on it, and if Jobs is sitting right there on the board, having previously made one or two very sensible suggestions in a quiet voice, and otherwise demonstrated a nice team-player spirit to re-assure the mor
        • Saw this [macminute.com] after I posted. Hmmm...so Eisner is stepping down this year, and two Disney board members including Roy have already openly said they want Jobs as CEO...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:27PM (#14521659)
    I bet Disney will be 4 times faster with Steve inside(tm).

    SCNR! :D
  • Welcome (Score:3, Funny)

    by shamowfski (808477) on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:28PM (#14521665)
    I welcome our new media overlord! Hail Jobs!
    • I welcome our new media overlord! Hail Jobs!

      More like Jobs proves the Peter Principle as the wretched hive of scum and villainy, which is Disney, would place in in a position where he would be doomed to failure and then easily sidelined. Kicking ass at Apple was easy, trying to change things at Disney will prove much harder.

      On another note, you can pretty much kiss the quality of Pixar story lines and character development good-bye as the worn-out 'characters with attitude' crap takes over and stories

  • by Mahkno (887550) on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:28PM (#14521667)
    Open up Disney's huge catalogue of short animations pieces, sell em for a $1. Nice... When is the last time you saw a short Mickey Mouse cartoon? Exactly.
    • When is the last time you saw a short Mickey Mouse cartoon?

      Never if Disney continues to corrupt the copyright laws. I'd rather consider anything published before 1986 to be public domain, but I'm not going to do anything large enough to warrant legal issues.
      • While I don't like what Disney did with the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, I can understand why they did it. Some property is so valuable that letting its rights lapse could do irreparable harm to its owners. Obviously, the founding fathers had intended for everyone to suck it up and deal with it, but modern history has shown that there can be some real value in controlling old property. (e.g. All those Plug 'N Play TV Games rely on old copyrights to compete in the market.) Yet at the same time, there is huge
        • e.g. All those Plug 'N Play TV Games rely on old copyrights to compete in the market.
          i was under the impression that lots of those were completely pirate devices anyway (though there are probablly some legit ones too).
          • There used to be a fairly large market of pirate devices. However, JAKKS legitimized the concept by producing their arcade joysticks under proper licensing. It wasn't long before Atari, Coleco, Intellivision, Sega, Capcom, and Konami were all chomping at the bit to get their piece of the market. Now you can barely get near the toy section at Wal-mart without seeing hundreds of the little PNP buggers. Some of them are pretty cool (e.g. Ms. Pacman/Galaga) and some of them are not so cool (e.g. Intellivision L
        • If a company goes out of business, you only have to wait a few years before you can start sharing an archive of their work

          The only thing here is that someone always owns the copyright - either an individual or a corporate entity, that is. When a company goes out of business its assets (and a (c) is an asset) are divided up amongst its creditors and owners (shareholders). There's no telling who ends up with it, but someone does, and they would have the right to renew.

          Personally, I'd like to see the fees do
          • When a company goes out of business its assets (and a (c) is an asset) are divided up amongst its creditors and owners (shareholders). There's no telling who ends up with it, but someone does, and they would have the right to renew.

            To clarify, my point was that if the copyrights went into limbo (as they often do), they would actually have a chance to expire. Today the copyrights go into limbo and no one can afford the cost of tracking down the real owner until someone else starts making money off the proper
        • But the issue is that copyrights were never meant to be used that way. They were meant to be a mechanism that would allow authors and artists a mechanism to attempt to recoup the costs of creation, and a profit from their creative endevours while causing them to have to continue to be creative. That means that the limited nature of the copyright meant that if the cration was a smashing success, you would still need to create new content in seven or fourteen years if you wanted to get paid more. It was a
          • It was a mechanist to foster CREATION of new materials, not protection of old.

            The key is that no one ever expected the derivitive works to become such an important part of business. Does Disney make much money off the Steamboat Willy cartoon? No. Probably not any at all. But every Mickey Mouse cartoon and use of Mickey as a mascot after it is a derivitive work. Should Disney allow Steamboat Willy into the Public Domain, it is very possible that improper marketing of these "public domain" works could cause d
        • by richie2000 (159732) <rickard.olsson@gmail.com> on Friday January 20, 2006 @06:06PM (#14522521) Homepage Journal
          I like to think about extending copyright to 500 years.

          Retroactively.

          After all of Disney's execs had a massive group-orgasm, one of the brighter ones would crawl out from under the sea of cum and realize the implications, ruining the party. They'd have to find each and every living heir to the guy who wrote Cinderella and negotiate the movie rights for the derivative work. For millions and millions. Per heir.

          Add Snow White, The Hunchback and even Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill to the mix and you'd be looking at an instant bankruptcy.

          After that's done, we could revoke copyrights [piratpartiet.se] altogether.


          But, first you need to read this book: Lawrence Lessig - Free Culture [free-culture.cc]. You'll love it.

  • Does this mean that a Mac laptop will be included in the purchase price of an "E" ticket?
  • Difficult individualists like Jobs are never successful taking a number 2 position at a company like Disney. Consider for example Turner at Time Warner.

    Consider the man Eisner hired, who didn't last long. I forget his name.
  • The Mouse (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:30PM (#14521683)
    Steve Jobs at the next MacWorld wearing mouse ears. Now there's a sight I can't wait to see.
  • so, assuming this is true, which stock would be the best investment at this time? pixr is close to $60 right now and dis is about $25. thanks!
    • which stock would be the best investment at this time?

      Neither. Remember the old adage:
      If you add a cup of wine to a barrel of garbage, you have a barrel of garbage. If you add a cup of garbage to a barrel of wine, you have a barrel of garbage.

    • by Onan (25162)

      This really isn't the place to ask for investment advice. But speaking very generally, there's a tendency for the stock of the acquirer to see a slight dip and the stock of the acquiree to see a small spike.

      But really, that's only a vague tendency. You shouldn't invest real money without investigating the particular companies and situation in more detail.

    • PIXR, no?
  • by nuckin futs (574289) on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:31PM (#14521691)
    Steve Jobs is known to be a control freak. He controls Apple and Pixar. Unless he's able to control Disney if and when they merge, I don't think he'll be selling.
  • Awesome! (Score:4, Funny)

    by ChePibe (882378) on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:32PM (#14521702)
    Now Disney movies will be sleek, easy to interface with, and pleasing to the eye! Disney toys will contain no small parts that could be snapped off! Disney rides will be stable, boring, and free of malfunction!

    Sadly, Disney's video games will now suck - they'll all be stupid puzzles. And all Disney characters will be required to ditch the fancy costumes and go with oversized jeans and black turtlenecks.

    That's the business world for you. It's all about compromise...
    • Now Disney movies will be sleek, easy to interface with, and pleasing to the eye! Disney toys will contain no small parts that could be snapped off! Disney rides will be stable, boring, and free of malfunction!

      Unfortunately it also means that no one will go to see Disney movies anymore, except for a vocal minority that claim the movies are better than any others. And the majority of critics will pan the new Disney movies as being too expensive and obviously inferior to the more popular studios' movies.
  • What makes all these stories about Steve Jobs worthy of being on the front page of a webpage for geeks/nerds? "News for nerds, Stuff that matters," is the slogan right? Whether or not steve jobs sells his pixar stock or eats sushi for breakfast is irrelevant to any discussion here.
    • The answer is simple: Geeks/Nerds like stories about other geeks/nerds who made it big. I bet there are a lot of people on here who would love to be part of the next Jobs/Woz team.

      Of course, I think we should have more Woz/Avi/etc. news articles, but guys like them don't enjoy being in the limelight like Jobs does.

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:55PM (#14521902)

      What makes all these stories about Steve Jobs worthy of being on the front page of a webpage for geeks/nerds?

      Yeah articles about a guy who runs one of the biggest and most innovative computer companies and one of the most well regarded computer graphics production houses has nothing to do with nerds. Computers and what happens with computer graphics and their affect upon the computer industry is more of a jock thing. I'm sure they're covering it on ESPN right now.

  • by nagora (177841) on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:37PM (#14521740)
    Disney can buy Pixar and have the rights to their back-catalogue to rape in the straight-to-video market alongside "Disney Buggers Winnie the Pooh Yet Again" and the rest of their tat but the last 15 years has shown that Disney can't recruit talent capable of making a good movie.

    So, if Disney buys Pixar and Lassiter etc. walk out and start their own company Disney ends up with nothing more than a brand which they'll screw up as badly as they have their own.

    TWW

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      Didn't Pixar leave Disney [bbc.co.uk] not that long ago? Hmm. "If you can't keep their business, buy them out", is it?
    • So, if Disney buys Pixar and Lassiter etc. walk out and start their own company Disney ends up with nothing more than a brand which they'll screw up as badly as they have their own.

      Iger and Jobs aren't idiots. As mentioned in this morning's LATimes, it appears that they've already looked into Lassiter's role as head of animation. Disney has good animators and staff currently, but they need a visionary and leader like Lassiter to bring it all together. If he's given free reign (and with Jobs on the Boar

    • by nizo (81281) *
      Disney already owns the rights to pretty much all of Pixar's works:

      Disney noted in its statement that it owns rights to all the Pixar movies, as well as two more animated features yet to be delivered -- "The Incredibles" due this year and "Cars", expected in 2005.

      Disney will distribute those two films with Pixar getting its share of the profits. In addition, Disney probably will be able to make the sequels to all the Pixar films made under the current agreement, paying Pixar only limited royalties.

      (Taken fr

    • You know it's all been downhill since this classic [imdb.com] was released!
  • by jupiter_ganymede (741242) on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:38PM (#14521744)
    Pixar succeeds because they have the freedom to do things differently. I could see Pixar loosing that freedom and falling into the same trap Disney's animation branch did. Unless they could remain somewhat autonomous I can't see them continuing to innovate under Disney's control.
    • I see no mention of the fact they never liked each other. For a long time it seems that Pixar was doing all it could to get out of the deal it had with Disney to produce 5 movies. Now that it is close to get its freedom all of a sudden they want to be bought up?

      Has disney made the u-turn or has pixar? Pixar succeeded because it was not disney, what makes the people think that it will not die a quick death when smothered by the disney giant?

    • by WebGangsta (717475) on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:58PM (#14521921)
      Pixar succeeds because they have the freedom to do things differently

      The LATimes article released this morning is the only one to mention that John Lassiter - major Pixar honcho, creative driving force, etc -- would head up the entire Disney animation division as part of the deal.

      My guess is that Disney knows that Lassiter is the heart and soul of Pixar (as does Jobs), and they want to ensure that Pixar remains as devoted to creating quality work as possible along with reinvigorating the Disney animation arm as well with a new regime that Eisner so sadly dismantled over the years. As long as Pixar remains independent with Lassiter majorly involved in the merger-end-result, then all will be good in the end.

  • by OnTheWay (529387) on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:42PM (#14521775)
    We'll all lose out if Jobs sells Pixar to Disney. Here's one reason: I heard Albert Brooks talking about his new movie "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World" on the radio. Sony was his original distributor, but they wanted him to avoid using the word "Muslim" in the title, probably because they didn't want to offend any potential buyers of their cameras, TVs, AV Gear, etc. So he took his film to another distributor, one who didn't have to worry about TV/camera sales etc. So much for "synergy" - just shows the bigger you are, the *less* you can do, 'cause you're always worried about how one subsidiary's actions will affect the biz of all the other subsidiaries. That's what's going to happen to Pixar if Disney englobs it. "Toe the line and cover all of our sizeable asses!"
  • Not gonna happen. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DysenteryInTheRanks (902824) on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:43PM (#14521783) Homepage
    Guess what -- If this was going to happen, no one would be leaking it.

    Now, to figure out what is really going on, think about who is incentivized to leak. Disney? Well, considering how incredibly weak this makes them look, and considering how expensive their supposed acquisition of Pixar just got due to this news breaking, I think we can safely rule them out.

    On the other hand, Pixar in general and Steve Jobs in particular come off looking pretty great. There are all kinds of inflated numbers being thrown around about how much Disney will pay, which helps Pixar win concessions from other suitors who want to distribute its movies. Also, Jobs is practically crowned new king of Disney in these stories, which helps his public image.

    Most importantly, all this chatter brings Pixar even with or above Disney in the public mind in terms of brand quality. If Disney is offering so much, Pixar must be their creative equal or superior, the thinking goes.

    Only slightly less important, any big Pixar executives of shareholders (*cough*Jobs*cough*) just saw their stock options get even more valuable.

    So by a wide margin, this leak appears to benefit Pixar and hurt Disney.

    I wonder if Steve Jobs has the sort of media access and pull to do a leak like this? /sarcasm.

    • Another reason I think this is unlikely is that it would kill iTMS for video production. Music producers are already wary of its near monopoly position, and video producers are likely to be quite careful about allowing Apple to gain a distribution monopoly. If they secured a very good deal with Disney then this would make other studios very very cautious about entering into any kind of deal with Apple.
  • Disney has been making a lot of crap recently. I predict that the acquisition of Pixar by Disney will eventually cause Pixar's very enjoyable movies to turn to crap as well.

    I may take a few years to remove all the originality and cleverness from Pixar, but I'm sure Disney is up to the task.
    • Well, there's only ONE reason Pixar has been so good: Producer/Director/Writer John Lasseter.

      If the merger causes Lasseter to leave, then yah, they're screwed. They should put him on the new board, instead of Jobs.
      • Pixar is so much more than just John Lasseter.

        The last film Lasseter wrote and directed was Toy Story 2.

        Brad Bird wrote and directed The Incredibles [imdb.com]
        Andrew Staton wrote and directed Finding Nemo [imdb.com]
        Peter Docter directed and Andrew Staton wrote Monsters Inc. [imdb.com]

        While Lasseter served as Executive Producer on these films that role is mainly production management and not creative. I'm not saying Lasseter isn't talented, he is. Its just that Pixar's success is the union of great management, R&D and ar
  • Speculation has also arisen that such a deal may lead to Steve Jobs earning a position on Disney's board of directors. He would likely become Disney's largest individual share holder.

    It was also rumoured that Steve Jobs' first move as Disney boardmember is convincing the rest of the board to re-edit 'Snow White' so that the Queen [pins-r-us.com] feeds Snow White a poison banana.
  • Reality distortion field says it all. Those board members won't have a chance.
  • by randomErr (172078) <ervin DOT kosch AT gmail DOT com> on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:46PM (#14521818) Homepage Journal
    I can see this happening. Jobs has a much better name in both the consumer and business world. Jobs has several companies that have been producing original products(iPod, Airport, The Incredibles) and making money(Apple and Pixar of course) for years.

    Can Eisner say that (Home on the Range, Beauty and the Beast Princess Collect 2 Special Edition, Disney Land)?
  • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummel@jo[ ]ummel.net ['hnh' in gap]> on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:50PM (#14521853) Homepage
    If you're Steve Jobs, you have to be thinking "OK, if I own 5% of Disney, what will that get me?"

    Better opportunities for Pixar movies and resources? Check.
    Better control to keep Disney from making Toy Story 3 horrible? Check.

    But more importantly, will this really give him what he really wants at this stage: media control. I think his goal now is to set up iTunes and Apple as the next Sony - make itself the "one stop portal" for all things music/tv/movie, so no matter what you want, you click iTunes and for over that credit card number to get it, then play it on your iPod/computer/Apple TV (or whatever they may call the rumored "Plasma TV's with OS X").

    In this way, Apple can truly become the next Sony, including a strong movie/music lineup in its back pocket.

    On the other hand, will 5% of Disney really get him there? It's a hard question. It will get him influence, but my bet it that he would want control of the whole pie so he can say "We *will* be putting these movies on iTunes at $9 a pop, and if you don't like it, go form your own animation studio".

    It might also buy more problems with Sony, which has its own music/movie center. Right now, Apple is independant enough that it can go to Sony and say "Look, let us sell your music and movies on iTunes - we're not your competitor in the movie space". But if Jobs teams with Apple, how long until Sony decides its better to cut off its own nose rather than allow their entertainment rival to make money off of their products?

    He may hold out for a little more, as in "5% of stock plus extra voting powers", and some control over the technology (which would let him walk into the software development area and say "See this stuff? Make it Mac compatible before the next version of 'Disney Horse Adventures' ship.").

    I'm betting he won't take it - he's got what he wants on both sides of technology and entertainment, he has control, and it keeps him just independant enough where he can work with either side.

    Of course, that's just my opinion - I could be wrong.
    • If you're Steve Jobs, you have to be thinking "OK, if I own 5% of Disney, what will that get me?"

      Actually, with Disney's market cap at about $49bn, I guess he'd own more like 15% of disney (or at least, 15% of the outstanding common shares). Not that that would tip the scales entirely, but it would put him in a pretty significant position to effect inertia on the company.
  • by ewhac (5844) on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:50PM (#14521859) Homepage Journal

    The idea of Steve Jobs as the biggest single shareholder on Disney's board is certainly entertaining to think about but, on the whole, I think Pixar is better off remaining an independent animation studio (and, to a lesser extent, graphics research company).

    Among people in the entertainment industry, Disney is not well thought of. They have a reputation of being the most ruthless and shameless exploiters of talent. They are one of the loudest and most shrill voices in support of pervasive media copy protection (DRM), and have been instrumental in ram-rodding regressive copyright statutes through Congress. Frankly, I can't see Jobs doing much to change that. (It's also not clear that's something he would want to change.)

    Schwab

  • ohhhh! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2006 @04:51PM (#14521864)
    The "imouse"

    *sorry, had too*
  • Great, let's join something I love (Pixar) and something I admire (Apple) with something I despise (10 points for guessing that's Disney).

    Pixar has done the unbelievable and released *only* great movies. They are the heir of the old, beloved, plowed-into-a-wall-and-burned-to-the-ground Disney animation studios.

    Much as I'd love to see Disney stop sucking so hard, I'd rather they just *die* than take down Pixar with them.

    Good thing I'm on the boards of both companies, so my opinion on this matter will be inf
  • Steve Jobs != Pixar (Score:2, Informative)

    by vasqzr (619165)

    Jobs came up with the original plan to start Pixar, and the money to do it, but he has basically no creative control there. It's run by other people.
  • Hi All -

    What the speculation around the impact of Jobs selling Pixar to Disney and joining the Disney board (we would likely only settle for chairperson) falls to address, is the impact of restrictions on self-dealing, etc., on what a board member can do in this post-Enron and SOX era.

    If Warren Buffet can be criticized for being on the Disney board and called a "non-independent" Director because Diary Queen (which BRKB owns) purchases a few million in Coca Cola syrup a year, imagine the furor that Jobs push
  • by lazzaro (29860) on Friday January 20, 2006 @05:06PM (#14521997) Homepage
    If Pixar is sold to Disney, Steve should consider closing the door on that chapter of his life and moving on. The history of maverick outsiders taking a seat on the board of companies like Disney is that the maverick gets shunned until he throws up his hands and leaves. Yes, having such a big investment in Disney with no board seat is a dangerous thing for him ... but maybe the best way to solve that problem is for him to diversify out of his Disney holdings as quickly as legally permitted.
  • I hope this wouldn't mean that Pixar movies would start to suck like Disney and Dreamworks movies.
  • Steve Jobs just wants to have himself frozen. I guess it's the only way to cheat Gates of the last laugh.

    (And before the humourless OCD-blighted flametards point it out, yes, I do appreciate it's an urban legend.)

  • by spezz (150943)
    I'm sure there's a "one button mouse" joke in here someplace, but it's late in the day and my clever has been turned down to mute.

  • Can't beat 'em, take 'em over? I thought Pixar severed ties with Disney after The Incredibles?
  • by peter303 (12292) on Friday January 20, 2006 @05:50PM (#14522381)
    In 1996 Apple ostensibly acquired NeXT, but in reality it was the reverse. Jobs became a large shareholder again (he had sold all but one share after he was fired from Apple). The Jobs gang took back control from Apple.

    Ten years later Jobs could effectively control Disney, if he thought it was worth his time.
  • Charismatic new age computer mogul merges upstart company with established media giant.

    Let's hope it turns out better than Steve Case and AOL/TW

  • by EXTomar (78739) on Friday January 20, 2006 @05:56PM (#14522437)
    Shameless stolen from myself from last year's story:

    Yes if Disney bought Pixar they would receive a company full of talented, driven artists but that is only half of the reason why Pixar movies do so well. The other half is that management and producers protects the production. The classic story about Toy Story is that Disney fronted the money and was unhappy about the "juvenile" nature of the story and wanted to make it "modern", edgy, or whatever kids call being "cool" these day, they proceeded to hack it up. The result was crappy, no one liked it, everyone was unhappy, and Disney was moments from pulling the plug. It wasn't until Lasseter stepped in and said 'enough is enough' and fixed it by going back to their way that the project showed promise. The rest is history. Award winning history no less.

    So unless Disney takes a hands off approach if they buy up Pixar (I still doubt this would happen...would Job's ego allow it?) it will go the way of their ill fated Disney Orlando Animation Studio (which made Lilo). It isn't that Pixar has talented people (go figure...Disney has them too). It is the fact that the rank and file management all the way up to Lasseter understands they need to "protect the baby". Reguardless of whether or the story is stellar, interferrence will definately rob it any chances it had of being so.


    Nothing has changed from when I originally wrote that. If Disney takes over Pixar and run its as ruthless as they have their other buisness units they'll proceed to gut it. In fact it makes more sense for Job to run Disney than to have Diseny run Pixar.

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