Co. moved closer to a deal to buy Pixar Animation Studios
Inc. in a stock transaction that could be finalized and announced as soon as today, according to people familiar with the situation.
Meeting Sunday and yesterday in regularly scheduled sessions, Disney's board discussed the advanced negotiations and gave Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger authority to complete a deal, according to people familiar with the matter. The Disney board meeting stretched into yesterday evening.
Pixar's board is expected to convene this morning to discuss a possible deal, the people said.
Disney is putting the finishing touches on a deal to buy Pixar for a small premium to its market value in a stock deal. At close of regular trading yesterday, Pixar had a market value of $6.93 billion, or $58.27 a share. In the deal under discussion, Pixar CEO and Chairman Steve Jobs would take a board seat and become Disney's largest individual shareholder.
Still, details remain to be resolved and a deal could fall apart.
Disney, of Burbank, Calif., currently co-finances and distributes Pixar's movies under a deal that expires after Pixar's next movie, "Cars." Two years ago, Mr. Jobs said he planned to end Pixar's relationship with Disney and seek another studio to be its distribution partner. But the two companies have been in discussions in recent months, especially since Mr. Iger took over from former Disney chief Michael Eisner last October.
A deal would give Disney control of the Emeryville, Calif., company that has pioneered the popular computer-animation genre with hits including "Toy Story" and "The Incredibles." Disney's own animation unit has had a difficult time in recent years, having stuck too long with traditional hand-drawn films that were increasingly unpopular with audiences. Disney itself is transitioning to computer-generated films, such as its recent "Chicken Little." Write to
Merissa Marr at [email protected]