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Businesses Entertainment

Pixar For Sale? 251

blamanj writes "The on-again off-again relationship between Pixar and Disney is currently on-again, and in a big way according to this story. Pixar originally signed a distribution deal which gave Disney a percentage of the profits and a distribution fee of 10%-15% of revenues. With Pixar revenues well over two billion dollars on their films, Jobs was looking for a better deal and dropped negotiations with the mouse. But now, according to CNN, he might be willing to sell the company outright. I can't believe that Pixar employees would be happy."
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Pixar For Sale?

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  • Company acquisitions are typically godsends for many talented employees. It gives them a chance, whether through direct layoffs or just the ability to use the move as an excuse, to find new employment elsewhere. Many go on to found their own companies and become successful beyond what they could ever hope as a simple employee.

    It's probably not so bright a future for those employees who have no talent or vision, but since this is Pixar we are talking about, I don't think that's going to be the case in the
    • by Aqua OS X ( 458522 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @05:11AM (#13930606)
      True, but if you have a run-of-the-mill job in the HR, marketing, finance department, being laid off isn't so glamourous. Especially when you live in the bay area (aka $$$) during a mediocre economic period. Good luck getting the same pay rate and benefits that Pixar offered you. They're one of the best employers to work for in the SF bay.
      • Perhaps when more HR, marketing,... people are unemployed the former start learning enough to know that you can't have 10 years experience in a 5 year old technology and the latter just die off (as a profession) and let us live in ad-free peace.
    • by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @05:21AM (#13930632) Journal
      Company acquisitions are typically godsends for many talented employees.

      You're kidding, right?

      It's probably not so bright a future for those employees who have no talent or vision

      Those that can do their job competently, and have done it well with no problem for 10 years? Yeah, damn those people. Maybe not everyone wants to have the hassle of running a company of their own (after all, it IS a lot of work). Those people get screwed over. The only people that are safe are the truly brilliant, if the company doesn't just get you to retrain it's own employeed before sacking the lot of you completely.

      Oh, it also sucks if you have a good contract, and the aquiring company doesn't have as good a contract for its employees.
      • Usually when a large company acquires a small company, the small company shifts to 'stall' state for a couple of years. There are many past examples. The reasons range from employees suddenly feeling like small pieces in a huge machine, lost hope for an 'exit', and so on.
  • by The Lost Supertone ( 754279 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @04:37AM (#13930523) Journal
    Makes a lil sense, I mean this isn't like Apple for Jobs, this is a company he bought and helped raise up and stuff it's not the company he helped create like Apple. Though honestly I can't see why he wouldn't want to hold on to it. It's not as if he needs the cash. Unless he's planning on out right buying a really large chunk of Apple or something.
    • by jurt1235 ( 834677 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @05:25AM (#13930644) Homepage
      If the company is up for sale, I guess more than just Disney will be interested, despite the things the article mentions as pros for cooperation with Disney. One other I already can think of is Warner Bros (who owns them?).
      The current market cap is $5.9Billion, Jobs owns 50% : $3Billion on your bankaccount can make the difference.
      Maybe he can fetch double of that, plus a bonus from the other share holders for doing such a great job. Probably some of pixar personel will be happy too because of stockoption plans, making them rich overnight in case of a sale.

      #Billion.... on my bankaccount $3 would make the difference (sad LOL).
      • What kind of a difference would another 3 billion make to him? Honestly is he going to buy fifty more planes? A thousand feraris? He is not going to retire, he is still going to wake up every day and go to work wearing his jeans and turtleneck.

        At some level any more money is not going to make a damn bit of difference except to your children after you die.
        • by jurt1235 ( 834677 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @07:33AM (#13930937) Homepage
          Money in certain circles is equal to power. Bill Gates has more money than Larry Ellison, and if you see and hear Larry, it certainly looks like that irritates the hell out of him, so for Larry money equals power. The other way around: Bill Gates does not seem to care, but at the same time displays his wealth with huge donations to research on malaria, and to the Bill and Melissa Gates foundation, which I think is a great way to display your wealth.
          Maybe Jobs is also the person who wants more power, and having read parts of the unofficial unauthorized biography of Jobs (by some journalist), and than mainly the pieces describing is character, power means a lot to Jobs. Since money does equal power to a certain extent, it can be that it satisfies that part of his personality, even if it doesn't matter to the wealth he displays.
          Seeing the current billionaires who count, displaying wealth is for the kids mainly (Paris ea). The big IT tycoons do not really display their wealth, except in gadgets (-:. The billionaire with most display of wealth is I think Donald Trump, who loves his private jet(s?), cars and names on the buildings.
          So in my opinion more money for Jobs would satisfy his ego, but would not change his appearance to the outside world in any way. And for the last part: Why should he. Turtlenecks and jeans are probably more comfortable than a suit (only turtlenecks is soo seventies (and don't dare to call it retro, will ya)).
          • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @08:25AM (#13931074)
            But then the question is: why sell the company?

            He has that 3bn either way, just as Bill's money really isn't liquid but is in his stock.

            I assume that Apple is taking up most of his time and he doesn't feel comfortable running Pixar w/o running Pixar, so to speak. I don't think it's about the money alone.
          • Turtlenecks and jeans are probably more comfortable than a suit (only turtlenecks is soo seventies...
            I must have missed the part of the seventies when people wore turtlenecks and no pants.
          • While I am no Steve Jobs biographer, if I were to take a guess (which I am oddly enough), I'd say that he's more 'project oriented'. Remember Mr. Jobs sold out of Apple a number of years back, and only came back on as CEO to save it. While Pixar is still the unquestioned leader of the computer generated cartoon industry, that business is becoming more mature, and competitive. In 'business-speak' Pixar is now in it's 'Cash Cow' phase, a perfect time to sell out, and use your money for a new venture. My g
        • After a certain point, it's not the money as much as the drive for success, the easiest metric of that being money, fame a close second.
        • What kind of a difference would another 3 billion make to him? Honestly is he going to buy fifty more planes? A thousand feraris?

          It's not easy to grasp how much money 3 billion for a single person really is. At $250K/per, it's 12000 Ferraris. Or given that a 5% slice of Ferrari recently for 114e6 euros [sportnetwork.net], that means the entire Ferrari company is worth 2.28bn Euros or $2.73 BN.... but buying the company takes it out of personal terms again, doesn't it?

    • It's not as if he needs the cash. Unless he's planning on out right buying a really large chunk of Apple or something.
      Or a small but important chunk of Microsoft? The successor to Windows NT 2007 (AKA Vista) might ship with default cream-and-toothgel-and-brushed-metal themes and a whooshy faux-3D taskbar! (-:
  • Movies (Score:3, Funny)

    by CriminalNerd ( 882826 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @04:40AM (#13930533)
    Well...Am I the only one who's worried about future movies? I mean...What will we occupy our kids with? Computers?! I mean...COME ON! It's not as if I'm going to pay for their WoW subscriptions!
    • What will we occupy our kids with?

      Mom & Dad's oldie moldie DVD and game collection.

      Very little on TV will be worth watching. If you don't get cable or satelite, then with analog over the air gone, the old tv will be just a monitor for old DVD rentals and the console video games. Not many are going to drop the cash for an over the air tuner for the junk on over the air TV. The money will go to a new game console or better computer and monitor instead.

      After all, Sonic and Crash are still fun for the nex
  • by magicRob ( 815117 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @04:41AM (#13930535) Homepage
    So Jobs cut's a deal with his mates at Disney for TV over iTunes then once he has what he wants, tells Disney to bugger off with distribution of the Pixar flicks. I love it.
  • by Matarick ( 566397 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @04:41AM (#13930536)
    I wouldn't be suprised if Lucasfilm bought back Pixar from Jobs since Lucasfilm sold Pixar in 1986 [alvyray.com]. I just hope reclaimed Pixar would work on other project besides Star Wars films.
  • Current deal (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @04:43AM (#13930540)
    The current deal with Disney, as I understand it:
    1: All proceeds are returned to Disney until distribution costs are covered. That works out to 10-15% of all proceeds.
    2: The remaining proceeds are split 50-50 between Disney and Pixar. Ultimately, that works out, in conjunction with the distribution costs, to a 60-40 or 65-35 split with Disney raking in the higher end of the money for each film Pixar created in its entirety.
    3: Disney owns the rights to ALL characters appearing in Pixar movies. Pixar owns the right of refusal on sequels. ie: if Pixar opts against making a sequel to a given movie, Disney can and probably will make it with no input from Pixar. Witness Toy Story 3.
    • The current deal was for a set number of movies, and it expires with "Cars" in 2006. There was also disagreement with respect to Toy Story 2, it was originally a "cheap sequel". Later, it got upgraded to a full fledged movie. Pixar wanted it to count against the original # of movies in the distribution agreement, Disney didn't - I don't recall what became of that.

      PS. Why do I keep getting deja vu when I see the Chicken Little advertisements? Is that character (design) ripped off of some cartoon or have
  • Risky (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @04:43AM (#13930542) Homepage
    Disney has been in a creative slump for a number of years. They did not catch on to the technological changes very quickly, and their stories have been lacking, feeling like new cookie-cutter versions of tropes that ceased to be fresh a long time ago.

    I seriously doubt bringing Pixar (or any other animation group) in-house would help, though. There is a very real risk that an already demoralised animation division gives up altogether, while the outside company's group dynamic gets destroyed by the change in corporate culture, the hostility and despair from the in-house people and the inevitable loss of people that do not wish to continue after a merger.

    For such a move to work, I believe Disney needs to put its own house in order first, so there is a thriving, positive culture to merge with. If not, you'll just destroy two groups, not rescue one as the plan may be.

    But then, what do I know...
    • Re:Risky (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I agree. Frankly, Disney is a mess. Disney Animation doubly so. They need some new leadership and need pull their heads out of their collective, well you know. They still seem to want to ride on the fact that they are Disney, and that sort of thing just doesn't cut it any more. Pixar is a perfect example of this.
    • Disney has been in a creative slump for a number of years. They did not catch on to the technological changes very quickly, and their stories have been lacking, feeling like new cookie-cutter versions of tropes that ceased to be fresh a long time ago.

      At least they can keep on making money on Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck etc. since it's clear that those copyrights will never expire.
  • It's Just Business (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MoThugz ( 560556 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @04:45AM (#13930545) Homepage
    Since when should employee happiness be the basis of whether or not to sell a company?

    In the end it's the owners who decide whether to hold on to it, or divest it. However, it does seem a little unwise for Jobs to sell off what seems to be a profitable outfit.
    • by humina ( 603463 )
      You're not buying much if you have a mass employee exodus and a drop in moral in the company. The whole purpose of buying pixar would be to buy it's talent(employees). The pixar brand won't last if the talent to create good movies isn't there.
      • by MoThugz ( 560556 )
        Well, that's one way to look at it. But from my experience, if I really wanted the "talents" behind a company, I'd headhunt the guy. And to be honest, this would be the easiest thing to do... a little more dollars here, a little bit more perks there, chances are I can get my target in an acceptable timeframe.

        If I were to takeover a company like Pixar, let's be honest here... name me 2 or 3 animators that you know for sure works there? If you're not really into the animations industry (or are not a fan of th
        • Disney has a massive brand name. If Disney could come out with some good animated movies without Pixar, then they wouldn't need to buy Pixar. The problem is that recent Disney computer animated films have not done well (especially compared to the films made by Pixar). All Disney would need to do is have a really good CGI movie and then have the previews for all of their future movie say "from the creators of that really cool movie, comes another movie". That's what Pixar is able to do by saying "from th
          • The problem with Disney is management, not staff. I doubt that before Monsters Inc a film like that would get past the first manager in Disney. Buying a new company or a new talent wont change Disney management and inability to take any risks.
    • by Siener ( 139990 )
      Since when should employee happiness be the basis of whether or not to sell a company?

      Since you get companies (and Pixar is one) who's biggest asset is their employees. If all the employees quit right after Pixar is sold, then there's not much else of value left.

      I was employed by a software company that went through this. Many developers were "made redundant" soon after the sale and the remaining ones eventually quit. Six months down the line there were no developers left. All the company had left was seven
    • Exactly! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Overzeetop ( 214511 )
      Everybody is moaning and complaining that the sale would be no good for the purchasing company, as all the good employees will leave. Well, from the seller's point of view, that's the problem of the new owner. The buyer, if they wish to keep the creative talent and continue making gobs of money with their new acquisition, needs to make sure the "new" employees stay happy hwere they are. If that means a variation in corporate policy for the Pixar division...well, that's what it takes. If you're going to cut
    • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @12:03PM (#13932620)
      Pixar doesn't make ball bearings. They are a creative enterprise. They have some software assets but their movies are box office winners because of their creative talent. In particular John Lasseter is one of their single greatest assets. Pixar's movies are successful because they are based on great stories and compelling characters, not really because of their prowess doing 3D graphics(though their rich animation is priceless in its own way). Lasseter's "Luxo Jr" was done back in an era when the CGI was extremely simplistic but its still entertaining to watch because the story is good.

      In an era when most movies have horrible scripts, and special effects laden comic book movies especially so, a movie studio with good story tellers is priceless. Most CG laden movies fail because the effects try to carry movies with no script.

      If someone buys Pixar and Lasseter and all his many proteges leave you end up with an empty shell worth nothing. Disney's problem stems from a time when their talent, Katzenberg in particular, left for places like Dreamworks, and their story telling crater. This is why all their movies have sucked since, they are formulaic stories with cardboard characters. Eisner treated his animation studio as a business and its precisely because he didn't look out for the happiness of its key people, management and employees. Disney has a reputation for having a sweat shot work environment for its animators and that is a really bad environment to cultivate creative talent.
  • iff jobs does not write in something that ties them to the company. Otherwise, if the new company does not do a good job (i.e. starts firing or brings in some idiot manager), then I suspect that a number of VC will be after them to start up pixat competitors. And that is good.
  • by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @04:59AM (#13930572) Journal
    will the headline be
    Pixar Employees Lose Their Jobs?
  • by Stickerboy ( 61554 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @05:04AM (#13930584) Homepage
    Regardless of the success of Chicken Little, buying Pixar would be buying exactly what Disney needs - a company full of talented, creative overachievers who care as much about their art and storytelling as profits and dollar signs (which they have no problem making plenty of).

    The best idea would be to buy Pixar and leave it the hell alone - a Hong Kong for Disney's People's Republic.
    • I agree that the best Disney would do is to buy pixar and then leave them alone.

      I'm sure that Disney is also full of talented and creative people that care as much about art and storytelling... the big difference is that Disney has a bunch of execs calling the shots that care more about focus groups and a comitee style aproach (hey, Shrek had a fart joke and made lots of money, we need to do better, our next movie will have more fart jokes) and don't really get what makes a movie great.

      On the other hand, Pi
    • by EXTomar ( 78739 )
      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, ever
  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @05:06AM (#13930590)
    What is it with Jobs and resisting mouse-related progress?

    Add your own, presumably better, mouse-related gags if you wish. ;)
  • Give Jobs Credit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by putko ( 753330 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @05:14AM (#13930613) Homepage Journal
    Although I'd never buy a Mac, I give Jobs and his employees credit for:

    1. Showing the hacks who run Disney that not all movies have to suck. It is possible to make an animated movie that's actually watchable and somewhat entertaining. Just think about the crappy cartoons that existed before Pixar movies, in case you don't agree.

    2. Showing that Disney totally sucks. Empereror has no clothes. They can crank out schlocky sequels, but that's about it. A bit like the video game business -- indies do it better. The big publishers are filled with money-grubbing power seekers. With Jobs, I think that money is just for keeping score -- his main goal is to make superb stuff.

    3. Pixar has run cirles around Eisner, Katzenberg, Spielberg and Geffen. The media bosses suck. Jobs has more talent than those greedy, grasping, imitative, uncreative hacks.

    • 1. Showing the hacks who run Disney that not all movies have to suck. It is possible to make an animated movie that's actually watchable and somewhat entertaining. Just think about the crappy cartoons that existed before Pixar movies, in case you don't agree.

      Not all cartoons sucked before Pixar movies. In fact, Disney for some time was making GREAT animations. Think about Aladdin, Lion King, and several other movies BEFORE Lion King. I think Lion King was the real last "great" Disney animation per se. Lilo
      • Re:Give Jobs Credit (Score:3, Informative)

        by C0rinthian ( 770164 )
        I never bothered to see Lilo and Stitch. I can say that The Emperor's New Groove, while not the traditional Disney animated-broadway style, kicked much ass.

        IIRC, the specific animation branch that made it was closed by Eisner.
    • Re:Give Jobs Credit (Score:3, Informative)

      by Yaruar ( 125933 )
      "1. Showing the hacks who run Disney that not all movies have to suck. It is possible to make an animated movie that's actually watchable and somewhat entertaining. Just think about the crappy cartoons that existed before Pixar movies, in case you don't agree."

      That's nothing to do with Jobs though. Pixar has always been John Lassiter's baby, he is the creative genius behind it, Jobs is just the money/business man in the operation. Lassiter made and now makes sure that the cartoons produced are good storie
    • Actually, Disney started not-sucking in 1989 with The Little Mermaid and continued not-sucking through the 1990s, starting with 1991's Beauty and the Beast--years before 1995's Toy Story. Granted, some movies were better than others, and the Pixar ones are mostly great, but at least Disney wasn't in its 1980s suck-out-loud state anymore.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_notable_Disne y_feature_films [wikipedia.org]
  • Oh please... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seanellis ( 302682 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @05:19AM (#13930628) Homepage Journal

    Can you imagine the lively, engaging style of Pixar stuggling to survive the diktats for formulaic plot heaped upon it by Disney execs? Think "The Emperor's New Groove" but done with shiny new CG. Ugh.
    • Re:Oh please... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by alnya ( 513364 )
      The Emperor's New Groove is a misunderstood classic.

      No touchy!
    • Re:Oh please... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Flyboy Connor ( 741764 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @07:36AM (#13930942)
      Think "The Emperor's New Groove" but done with shiny new CG. Ugh.

      Bad example. "The Emperor's New Groove" is actually one of the very best Disney films of recent years. It is a lot of fun, doesn't take itself seriously, for once has an obnoxious hero who does not really become a sweet guy at the end, and has a very original style. But it sucked at the box office and DVD sales, so I am wondering that maybe those suits really know what they are doing when they make the team focus on crappy sequels for blockbusters. They are not in it for the art, you know.

    • Maybe it's going to be one of those face-hugger alien deals, like Jobs did with Apple, when Apple bought NeXT? Pixar my gestate inside Disney for a year or two and then they take over? Wonder if Jobs will be the dCEO and only take $1 in pay?
  • Depends on where they are on the geek scale. Disney being the analog of Satan in the computer/copyright world, no I can't imagine they'd be very happy.

    OTOH, if they still believe that hiding behind that multiply-protected-by-acts-of-Congress cute mouse of Disney's is... more cute mice, then I'm sure they'd be ecstatic.

    The question I want to know is why Jobs would sell Pixar? The clearest answer I can see has something to do with Jobs's little iPod video thingy and Disney's little "we own your whole damn childhood" movie archive...
    • OTOH, if they still believe that hiding behind that multiply-protected-by-acts-of-Congress cute mouse of Disney's is... more cute mice, then I'm sure they'd be ecstatic.

      Well, since the employees at Pixar enjoy salary bonuses based largely on the performance of the company's copyrighted and sold products, most of them will probably be pleased to work (or continue to work) for a company that does indeed want to see (and defend) revenue from their expensively made products. It does Pixar no good if some fam
    • Perhaps Pixar needs something like a modified CC/GPL for movies. Some sort of legal thing that says it gives up its copyright after 26 years. Then make it so that it also affects any company that it merges with. Then merge with Disney and cause it to stop all this silly copyright extending business.
  • Has Jobs been doing his "reality distortion field visionary leader" bit with Pixar, or has he just been a major stockholder while the company has been going on it's own momentum? Would the sale of Pixar result in layoffs and lower morale, or would the company simply go on the same way it is, or possibly even improve with more investment?
    • I'm not a pixar employee (I wish... I'd pay to be one... are you listening pixar???)... but from the outside it looks like the company has its own momentum. I, at least, have always associated Pixar more with John Lasseter than with Steve Jobs... actually, I've been a pixar fan since Toy Story, but wasn't until relatively recently (around the time Monsters Inc. came out) that I realized he was involved in it.
  • Jobs cashing out ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shashark ( 836922 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:14AM (#13930764)
    Just a random thought: Considering what Jobs can do with Apple, Jobs would need to buy out some minority partners to have more board control in Apple (Valued at about $50bn http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=aapl [yahoo.com]) -- and for that he would need good cash. That cash can come out of Pixar.

    Apple would sure do better with Jobs in better control (of the board) and with Microsoft blundering big-time, MAC could be the next windows. Better control would also decrease the probability of a Sculley-like 1985 takeover Deja-vu.

    On a side note, the fact that Google's founders have a unique 3:1 voting power in the board (you can google to find more about it) reflects on the way they focus and innovate tirelessly. Also, the stories of Billy B Gates and Larry "I am God" Ellison and numerous other Successful Owner-CEOs would tell you that when it comes to running (and being in control of) your own damn public limited company, your ownership (shares) is very critical, no matter how good (or bad) a CEO are you.

    And, as a reminder, we must never forget how HP (the HP way) got screwed by board politics.

    Let pixar be Disney's, but I'll bet you'll want Apple to be Jobs. If Pixar's sale can help him do that, so be it.

    (Followed by Sculley "I'm the CTO" Jokes...)
  • by putko ( 753330 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:43AM (#13930827) Homepage Journal
    The Pixar/Disney story is very interesting, if only for showing the kind of attitude that Pixar has (compared with the normal Hollywood flacks): when push came to shove, Pixar made the move "their way", walking away from the Disney bosses and their "Geld". Shortly thereafter the Disney media bosses decided it really was the best thing ever, and got back on board. And they proceeded to take as much credit for the outcome as they could, of course. If you've ever worked with the publisher/media boss types, you know what they are like, and greatly appreciate the backbone that Jobs and company showed.

    Here's the source of this quote [sfgate.com]:

    ... Disney, which was bankrolling the project, peppered the young animators with notes and suggestions. The story was too juvenile, the higher-ups said, and the characters had to be edgier. Afraid to trust themselves, Lasseter and his crew tried to follow all the directions.

    It was, nearly everyone agrees, a train wreck. Disney hated the movie and the idea -- and shut it down.

    "Yeah that was fun,'' jokes Pete Docter, who was nominated for Oscars for "Toy Story'' and "Monsters, Inc.'' "And it happened right around Christmas, too.''

    Lasseter recalls that he "begged'' for two weeks to fix things. The animators went back, took out all of Disney's suggestions and made the movie they wanted to make in the first place.

    And, naturally, when they screened the new version, Disney execs loved it...

    Thanks media bosses!
    • Odd, I picked up Toy Story: The Art and Making of the Animated Film, and it tells an entirely different story. In this version, Pixar's "Black Monday" arrived November 17, 1993 when the creative team got their first look at the assembled story reels. There were serious problems with the story, especially with Woody's character.
      • "If anybody helped us get back on the wagon most, it was the creative people at Disney," says Stanton. "Con Clements and John Musker [co-directors of Aladding and The Little Mermaid
  • by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <rodrigogirao@hSL ... com minus distro> on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @07:00AM (#13930868) Homepage
    *puts pinky finger on corner of mouth* ...ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS!
  • If Disney buys Pixar what would happen to its software arm? For the uninitiated, they make a world class renderer called RenderMan.

    Somehow I can't see Disney getting into software...

    • Sell Renderman to Apple?
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @07:47AM (#13930962) Homepage
    Unless Disney give them serious personal investment in the company, they'll just up and leave to form a new competing studio. That's pretty much par for the course.
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcrNO@SPAMmac.com> on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @07:58AM (#13930982) Journal
    This could be a win-win situation. If Disney buys Pixar, I'll be quizzing my friends there on how it's going management-wise. If it looks like a repeat of the Apple/NeXT merger, I'll buy a pile of Disney shares, and watch them double in value in three to four years.

    When Apple acquired NeXT, their top three levels of management were pretty much replaced with NeXT employees. The result: a revitalized Apple, which has grown from a nadir of about $2B in market capitalization, to todays $47 billion company.

    If Disney acquires Pixar, and puts John Lasseter in charge of animation, it could be a great thing for both companies. The Pixar employees (most of them are shareholders) get a nice bundle of Disney shares for their Pixar equity, and those Disney shares then take off when the effect of Pixar's influence on the Disney organization starts to become obvious to Wall Street.


    • When Apple acquired NeXT, their top three levels of management were pretty much replaced with NeXT employees

      I was there at the time. It's more like Apple's top twenty levels of management were replaced with one or two levels of NeXT employees. It's not so much a tribute to the rank and file NeXTies as it is a tribute to laserlike, singular focus on the part of the new executive management.

      (FWIW. Yes, this is offtopic.)
  • It's no coincidence that the Disney-Pixar relationship improved after Eisner left. He was like oil and water with many he dealt with, especially when it came to Pixar.
  • silly rumors... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by constantnormal ( 512494 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @08:42AM (#13931129)
    ... and silly Slashdotters who will believe anything they read on the web.

    • What's the motivation for this? Last time I checked, Steve Jobs was not one of the bigger shareholders [yahoo.com], so he would get little out of the deal, except to cede control of the one place which he can guarantee will allow Apple to sell movies via iTMS.

    • How much would it go for? The NYT piece says such a sale would have to command a premium over the current market valuation (over $6B). Given annual revenues approaching $300M and heading into some new distribution arrangements that are likely to significantly raise that amount (hint: they are slaves to Disney under the current arrangement, with Disney taking the lion's share of the profits and owning all the I.P.), such a sale price is highly speculative, but I would think something on the order of $9B (or a share price of about $75) would be in the ballpark.

    • Who would buy it? Disney could pull off such an acquisition, but if would strain the resources of the Mouse, and would require either issuing a boatload of new stock (pissing off the current stockholders by diluting their holdings) or taking on massive amounts of debt (at a time when interest rates are rising) or some combination thereof. Microsoft is a much more likely prospect, as they would give anything to expand out of their software box into other realms -- why do you think they're sinking boatloads of money into the Xbox? But the odds of Steve Jobs selling Pixar to Bill Gates are only slightly better than those of SCO bringing IBM to its knees -- I think.

    • Who benefits? The obvious parties here are the mutual fund holders, who would gleefully pocket their profits. But then they also profit if Pixar continues on course to some new distribution arrangement with Disney, Sony, or whomever, significantly increasing the company's revenues in the process. Once a new distribution arrangement is announced, removing some of the uncertainty about the future of Pixar, a reasonable expectation would be for the stock to rise, reflecting the increased profitability (which depends upon the details of whatever distribution arrangement Steve works out with the new partners -- Steve isn't widely known for being generous in such dealings). It surely will not be more than a couple of years after the new distribution arrangement is concluded that Pixar's stock price hits 75, and possibly as little as 12-15 months.

    I see no reason for Pixar, mutual funds, or individual stockholders to sell Pixar stock at this point.
    The NYT probably just phoned Michael Eisner and asked for a good story to print.

    • Re:silly rumors... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Phat_Tony ( 661117 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @10:35AM (#13931826)
      "Last time I checked, Steve Jobs was not one of the bigger shareholders..."

      From the first sentence of TFA:

      "The New York Times reports Jobs, who owns about 50 percent of Pixar (Research), would want a strong premium to its current $5.9 billion market capitalization to consider a sale..."

    • Last time I checked, Steve Jobs was not one of the bigger shareholders, so he would get little out of the deal, except to cede control of the one place which he can guarantee will allow Apple to sell movies via iTMS.

      Steve Jobs personally owns more than 50% of Pixar (See the Annual Report [pixar.com]) I'm not exactly sure why Jobs is not listed among Pixar's insider roster [yahoo.com]. I'm guessing it has something to do with the fact that Steve's shares have never actually been traded. Or maybe he's got a very good accountant and
  • would that require the sort of separation that NOT sitting on the board of both companies?

    Or would selling the most succesful animation company, but locked into distribution deals with the iTMS, provide Jobs with enough capital to do an end run around M$.

    What would be the best strategy given the revenue streams generated since the introduction os video at the iTMS?
  • by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @10:22AM (#13931712) Homepage
    Apple = Steve Jobs
    Pixar = Steve Jobs

    Why not Video iPod and downloadable "Pixar" films. Especially as it seems when you look at the list of travel movies a family brings with them for the kids - Pixar films tend to top the list.

    So the ability to download Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monster's Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles could be a boon for iTunes AND add additional sales for those movies.

    (In truth, I think Steve Jobs is better off waiting a few more movies and buying Disney. *lol*)
  • Buy (Score:2, Funny)

    by zlogic ( 892404 )
    Pixar for sale?
    I want to buy some! Can it be bought online or do you need to visit your local dealer? And is there a money-back guarantee?
  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:32PM (#13934059) Homepage Journal
    From TFA: The paper attributed Jobs' willingness to consider a sale to "two people with knowledge of the talks" now taking place between Disney and Pixar about possibly extending their partnership.

    Jobs is possibly interested in maybe possibly selling Pixar to Disney or perhaps to someone else maybe, possibly. Disney is trying hard to show Jobs and the rest of the world that their animation arm isn't completely dead. Jobs is angling for content deals that will help Apple. Much is possible; nothing is known.

    Wake me up when there's more than a rumor.

MSDOS is not dead, it just smells that way. -- Henry Spencer