Walt Disney has announced that it is buying Pixar, the animated studio led by Apple head Steve Jobs, in a deal worth $7.4 billion.Speculation about a deal being imminent raged on Wall Street for the past few weeks. Disney has released all of Pixar's films so far, but the companies' current distribution deal was set to expire following the release of this summer's "Cars."
Disney and Pixar can now collaborate without the barriers that come from two different companies with two different sets of shareholders," said Jobs. "Now, everyone can focus on what is most important, creating innovative stories, characters and films that delight millions of people around the world."
As part of the deal, Jobs will become a board member of Disney, the companies said. And John Lasseter, the widely respected creative director at Pixar who had previously worked for Disney, will rejoin the House of Mouse as chief creative officer for the company's combined animated studios and will also help oversee the design for new attractions at Disney theme parks.
"The addition of Pixar significantly enhances Disney animation, which is a critical creative engine for driving growth across our businesses," said Disney CEO Robert Iger in a written statement.
According to the terms of the deal, Disney
) will issue 2.3 shares for each Pixar share. Based on Tuesday's closing prices, that values Pixar at $59.78 a share, about a 4 percent premium to Pixar's current stock price. Shares of Pixar
) fell slightly in regular trading on the Nasdaq Tuesday but the stock has surged more than 10 percent so far this year on takeover speculation. Disney's stock gained 1.8 percent in regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange but slipped about 0.5 percent after-hours.