Disney, Pixar Give Marriage Second Chance
Business Journalism 1/30/06

Disney, Pixar Give Marriage Second Chance

Many merging and acquired companies like to tell the story about their corporate union as the fairy tale come true.

Walt Disney Co. and Pixar Animation Studios are no different, as they announced their $7.4 billion marriage last week, conducting joint interviews, issuing mutual praise and all. But time will still tell whether one ends up being the bad apple in the new partnership.

Though, this alliance comes barely a year after the two companies wrote each other off in disgust over a simple movie distribution deal. Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner called Pixar depictions of human characters "pretty pathetic," while Pixar Chairman Steve Jobs "stormed away" from distribution negotiations, threatening to go with another company.

The difference in those two years: a new Disney CEO. The amount of print that history got in stories covering the new alliance: not enough.

"The rocky relationship of Pixar and Disney, or more specifically, of Steve Jobs and former Disney CEO Michael Eisner is important, because it could have derailed any future dealings between the two companies," says Kim Christensen, film industry reporter for the Los Angeles Times , which explained in depth how the company ties frayed before.

"It's a key element now, because it illustrates that things don't happen in a vacuum," he adds. "This deal, in all probability, wouldn't have happened without new Disney CEO Bob Iger's concerted efforts to mend fences with Jobs and bring Pixar back into the fold."
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