Sunday, January 22, 2006

Jobs to scoop $3.5bn as Pixar board approves Disney takeover

The board of Pixar Animation Studios, the digital animations company, is set to meet tomorrow to approve the company's $7bn (£3.9bn) takeover by Disney.

The all-share deal will make Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, around $3.5bn and the single largest shareholder in Disney. Jobs created Pixar in 1986 when he paid $10m for the computer animations division of Lucasfilm, owned by Stars Wars creator George Lucas.

Disney has struggled to compete with its rival's cutting-edge computer animated films, which have become increasingly sophisticated over the past few years.

Disney already has a distribution agreement with Pixar, which is due to expire in June. Pixar's summer blockbuster is a film called Cars, while its previous hits include A Bug's Life, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc, Toy Story and The Incredibles.

Disney's first computer--generated film, Chicken Little, was released in the US in November and currently has worldwide box office sales of $279m.

But the giant entertainment company has failed to produce a hit animated film of its own in years. By contrast, the six films that Pixar and Disney have made together since the 1995 release of Toy Story have grossed more than $3.2bn.

Despite the impending takeover of Pixar, Robert Iger, the chief executive of Disney, pledged in November that "animation is, and will remain, at the heart and soul of Disney".

Telegraph | Money | Jobs to scoop $3.5bn as Pixar board approves Disney takeover


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