People to Watch: The Week Ahead
When to watch: Monday, Feb. 6. Pixar
Animation Studios may be merging with The Walt Disney Co.
in a $7.4 billion deal, but Steve Jobs
' firm plans to keep its identity intact. Not only does the agreement mandate that Pixar retain its name, but even the eponymous sign on the entry gate to the company's Emeryville, Calif., grounds cannot be altered, the companies said in a regulatory filing. Not to be left out, Disney has some conditions of its own. Most of Pixar's key executives, some of whom include Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton and The Incredibles director Brad Bird, must agree to stay on after the merger. In fact, the success of the deal leans heavily on whether Pixar leaders such as Vice President John Lasseter
and President Edwin Catmull
stick around. But given that Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger
has rebuilt the damaged relationship with Pixar thus far, there's good reason to believe the joint company could work. The deal isn't likely to close until this summer, so we'll just have to wait and see. Disney reports fiscal first-quarter earnings for 2006 on Monday. The entertainment giant is expected to earn 30 cents on revenue of $8.79 billion compared with 34 cents on $8.67 billion a year ago. --Tom Brennan