Walt Disney announced Tuesday that it’s paying $7.4 billion in stock to acquire Pixar Animation Studios–a deal that puts Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs on Disney’s board of directors.
By Ina Fried, and John Borland, CNET News.com
For the venerable animation giant, the move is a significant bet on Pixar’s digital approach as the successor to the pen-and-ink industry popularized by Walt Disney. The purchase is also the latest indication of a tectonic collision between technology and Hollywood.
As part of the deal, which is expected to be completed this summer, two Pixar veterans will head Disney’s animation efforts. Ed Catmull, who had served as Pixar’s president, was named president of the combined Pixar and Disney Animation Studios. John Lasseter, the Pixar executive vice president who is widely regarded as the studio’s creative leader, was named chief creative officer. Pixar will remain in its San Francisco Bay Area headquarters.
“Disney and Pixar can now collaborate without the barriers that come from two different companies with two different sets of shareholders,” Jobs said in a statement. “Now everyone can focus on what is most important: creating innovative stories, characters and films that delight millions of people around the world.”
Although Disney is issuing $7.4 billion worth of stock, it is paying closer to $6.3 billion after factoring in Pixar’s cash holdings of slightly more than $1 billion. Pixar shareholders will receive 2.3 Disney shares for every Pixar share they own, a move that will make Jobs the largest individual shareholder of Disney.
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