Will great big Disney destroy little Pixar?- Reuters- 1/23/06
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A key to the success of a possible takeover of Pixar Animation Studios Inc (PIXR.O: Quote
) by Walt Disney Co (DIS.N: Quote
) is whether the entertainment giant can nurture the freewheeling culture that led Pixar to a string of box office successes.
The companies are in talks over whether Disney should buy Pixar for around $7 billion in stock, making Pixar Chief Executive Steve Jobs Disney's top shareholder and potential board member.
The Disney board is meeting on Monday.
Pixar is known for its egalitarian ways where the lowest-ranking animator can share ideas with the bosses while Disney has a reputation for making creative decisions from the top down.
Disney's new Chief Executive Robert Iger has acted to cut layers of management formed over the years and to drive decision-making to individual business units since taking office in October.
Analysts and industry experts wondered on Monday whether Disney, with its relatively strait-laced, layered corporate culture can preserve Pixar's creatively driven atmosphere while increasing its output to at least one film per year. "Avoiding the time-driven demands in favor of creative excellence is a key differentiator of Pixar versus all other studios," Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto said in a note to clients. "Moving to two films a year and the corporate demands of a large company could destroy the culture of Pixar."