But Iger has other options. Some studio insiders say he may make a bid for DreamWorks Animation SKG, the studio started by David Geffen, Steven Spielberg, and former Disney studio chief and longtime Eisner foe Jeffrey Katzenberg. DreamWorks produced edgy hits like the two Shrek blockbusters and last year's Shark Tale.
Despite Katzenberg's courtroom battles with Eisner over his compensation, a deal with DreamWorks might not be as unlikely as it seems. As president of ABC prior to its 1996 acquisition by Disney, Iger bought a 1% stake in the upstart DreamWorks studio and ordered two TV shows for the network. When Iger married TV reporter Willow Bay in 1995, Katzenberg was front and center. "They have a good relationship," says a friend of both. The deal could be structured as a stand-alone unit, similar to Disney's 1993 arrangement with Miramax, which was negotiated by Katzenberg. But it would still face hurdles, including a hefty price tag and DreamWorks' existing distribution deal with NBC Universal. Neither Disney nor DreamWorks would comment.