Disney, Pixar Stocks Rise Amid Acquisition Talks

Jan 19, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Shares in The Walt Disney Co. and Pixar Animation Studios rose Thursday following reports that the two studios are in talks for Disney to acquire Pixar, which could lead to Pixar CEO Steve Jobs becoming Disney’s largest individual shareholder.

An article in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal said both sides are still haggling over a price. Pixar has a market capitalization of about $6.7 billion, and the expectation is that Disney would pay a premium over that value.

Shares in Pixar were up more than 3.5 percent to $59.29 at midday Thursday, while Disney shares rose 3 percent to $26.

Mr. Jobs, the CEO of Apple Computer, presently owns a controlling 50.6 percent of Pixar’s shares.

If Disney CEO Robert Iger strikes a deal with Pixar, it could remove one of Disney’s biggest problems. Disney and Pixar have been in business together for 12 years, producing box-office hits such as “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo.” However, a fractious relationship between then Disney CEO Michael Eisner and Mr. Jobs threatened to end the alliance.

Mr. Iger has made it a priority to ease the tension between Disney and Mr. Jobs, and last October began offering episodes of Disney television content for download at Apple Computer’s iTunes Music Store.