Steve Jobs Becomes Largest Shareholder
Pixar Animation Studios, whose films have garnered critical acclaim with both domestic and overseas audiences, is being bought tomorrow by Disney for $7 billion. Steve Jobs, as the CEO of Pixar, will become the largest shareholder in Disney.
In contrast to Pixar's remarkable success, Disney have struggled in the last decade to release original and financially successful productions; recently, many of the studio's films have been sequels of earlier successful works, a good portion of which have been released direct to video.
The buyout very much parallels Apple's purchase of NeXT ten years ago. Because so much of NeXT's advanced technology essentially displaced Apple's own struggling and dated codebase for the Mac OS to become Mac OS X, and Steve Jobs' own idea of a trimmed and stylish product line replaced the beige box Power Mac (insert four-digit number here), many industry analysts joked that 'NeXT had bought Apple for negative $400 million.'
Like NeXT (one of Steve Jobs's projects) was bought by Apple, and its technology incorporated into the company to revamp its product line, Pixar (again a project of Steve Jobs's) may very well save Disney. For those that either fear that Disney's long-lived traditional animation techniques will be completely replaced by computer 3D rendering, or believe that Disney will mishandle Pixar's talent and resources and bring an unfortunate end to the latter studio's successful run of films, consider two facts: the executives at Pixar, Steve Jobs included, believe that this will be as good for Pixar as it will be for Disney. No one at Pixar would be going along with the purchase if they thought that Disney was going to ruin them. Secondly, it is noteworthy that Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder at Disney. Steve Jobs has a reputation for getting what he wants, and it's doubtful that he made this deal without knowing he would have a significant say in Disney's direction. There may well be a rehash of the old joke, as 'Pixar buys Disney for -$7 billion.'