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Pixar For Sale?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the enslave-the-human-race-for-only-a-dollar dept.

Businesses 251

blamanj writes "The on-again off-again relationship between Pixar and Disney is currently on-again, and in a big way according to this story. Pixar originally signed a distribution deal which gave Disney a percentage of the profits and a distribution fee of 10%-15% of revenues. With Pixar revenues well over two billion dollars on their films, Jobs was looking for a better deal and dropped negotiations with the mouse. But now, according to CNN, he might be willing to sell the company outright. I can't believe that Pixar employees would be happy."

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251 comments

first post... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930511)

first post....

Why wouldn't they be happy? (2, Insightful)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930515)

Company acquisitions are typically godsends for many talented employees. It gives them a chance, whether through direct layoffs or just the ability to use the move as an excuse, to find new employment elsewhere. Many go on to found their own companies and become successful beyond what they could ever hope as a simple employee.

It's probably not so bright a future for those employees who have no talent or vision, but since this is Pixar we are talking about, I don't think that's going to be the case in the vast majority of cases.

Re:Why wouldn't they be happy? (4, Insightful)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930606)

True, but if you have a run-of-the-mill job in the HR, marketing, finance department, being laid off isn't so glamourous. Especially when you live in the bay area (aka $$$) during a mediocre economic period. Good luck getting the same pay rate and benefits that Pixar offered you. They're one of the best employers to work for in the SF bay.

Re:Why wouldn't they be happy? (1, Flamebait)

Taladar (717494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930895)

Perhaps when more HR, marketing,... people are unemployed the former start learning enough to know that you can't have 10 years experience in a 5 year old technology and the latter just die off (as a profession) and let us live in ad-free peace.

Re:Why wouldn't they be happy? (4, Informative)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930632)

Company acquisitions are typically godsends for many talented employees.

You're kidding, right?

It's probably not so bright a future for those employees who have no talent or vision

Those that can do their job competently, and have done it well with no problem for 10 years? Yeah, damn those people. Maybe not everyone wants to have the hassle of running a company of their own (after all, it IS a lot of work). Those people get screwed over. The only people that are safe are the truly brilliant, if the company doesn't just get you to retrain it's own employeed before sacking the lot of you completely.

Oh, it also sucks if you have a good contract, and the aquiring company doesn't have as good a contract for its employees.

Re:Why wouldn't they be happy? (0)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930660)

Maybe not everyone wants to have the hassle of running a company of their own (after all, it IS a lot of work). Those people get screwed over.

Yeah, the people who aren't prepared to do a lot of work get SCREWED OVER . It's just not fair, is it, for them to get screwed over because of the decisions of the people who were prepared to do a lot of work! Something needs to be done about this!

Re:Why wouldn't they be happy? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930717)

Yeah, the people who aren't prepared to do a lot of work get SCREWED OVER . It's just not fair

So what your saying is, if you don't want to get screwed over within a company, you better own it, because that's the only way you'll get any security? [sarcasm] Yeah, that sounds like paradise to me. [/sarcasm]

I didn't say Jobs was an evil person for selling the company, all I said was, it isn't going to be the party that the OP implied.

Re:Why wouldn't they be happy? (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930779)

So what your saying is, if you don't want to get screwed over within a company, you better own it, because that's the only way you'll get any security?

Basically yes, if your financial future is under the direct control of someone who doesn't have a vested interest in that future, you are in a very precarious position.

[sarcasm] Yeah, that sounds like paradise to me. [/sarcasm]

I agree with you it's not. And I know you didn't say Jobs was evil. I've gone up in income after layoffs, and still not found the process to be pleasant at all (try getting laid off two days before the Christmas break), but that's part of the trade-off of being an employee - you trade "security of control" for "security of a fixed rate of income". The problem is, the risk factors for the employee are almost totally out of their control. If the only reason someone doesn't want to go into business is that they don't want to do the extra work, they may be wise to consider if those extra leisure hours will be a comfort to them in the event of a layoff.

Re:Why wouldn't they be happy? (4, Insightful)

ysegalov (849765) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930682)

Usually when a large company acquires a small company, the small company shifts to 'stall' state for a couple of years. There are many past examples. The reasons range from employees suddenly feeling like small pieces in a huge machine, lost hope for an 'exit', and so on.

Re:Why wouldn't they be happy? (1)

corpsiclex (735510) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930701)

perhaps not everyone at pixar was feeling particularly entrepreneurial. happy people with happy, secure jobs tend to be somewhat risk-adverse when it comes to striking out on their own.

"Pixar employees won't be happy" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930517)

Er, why not? Does having Steve Jobs run the company make for happier employment in some way?

Two words, man (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930532)

Michael Eisner

Re:"Pixar employees won't be happy" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930680)

I think it probably does. From what I've heard he's usually been pretty hands off and allowed them to make their films the way they wanted without a lot of meddling. I doubt they'll get that kind of freedom from Disney, a company that has consistently blamed their medium (2D animation) for their falling revenues, seemingly without a clue that it is their lackluster storytelling that has doom their pictures as it is with most films that fail when their producers have the resources to make them hits.

I work for Pixar (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930518)

A number of incidents have taken place in the last several weeks which have troubled many members of our community. One of my objectives is to debate the efficacy of Pixar's morally crippled scare tactics. Anyway, the consequence of all this is that you might say, "I contend that Pixar should take responsibility for its actions." Fine, I agree. But what we're involved in with Pixar is not a game. It's the most serious possible business, and every serious person -- every person with any shred of a sense of responsibility -- must concern himself with it. Pixar recently claimed that it is cunctipotent. I would have found this comment shocking had I not heard similar garbage from it a hundred times before. I don't normally want to expose anyone to rigorous sarcasm, satire and disdain, but Pixar deserves it.

Pixar's credos are simply the result of vested interests striking back at a group whose actions in support of religious freedom, social reform, and government accountability have cut through those vested interests. That's pretty transparent. What's not so transparent is the answer to the following question: Will peeling back the onion of Pixar's crafty cock-and-bull stories cause Pixar to shed tears or will it merely enhance its desire to blacklist its enemies as terrorist sympathizers or traitors? A clue might be that I like to speak of it as "brusque". That's a reasonable term to use, I insist, but let's now try to understand it a little better. For starters, if, five years ago, I had described an organization like Pixar to you and told you that in five years, it'd commit senseless acts of violence against anyone daring to challenge its self-serving ramblings, you'd have thought me childish. You'd have laughed at me and told me it couldn't happen. So it is useful now to note that, first, it has happened and, second, to try to understand how it happened and how it labels anyone it doesn't like as "deranged". That might well be a better description of Pixar. Having no desire to belabor this subject, I'll just say that I don't believe that clever one-liners are a valid substitute for actual thinking. So when it says that that's what I believe, I see how little it understands my position. I believe in "live and let live". Pixar, in contrast, demands not only tolerance and acceptance of its ethics but endorsement of them. It's because of such pertinacious demands that I suspect that it has warned us that as soon as our backs are turned, contemptuous, incomprehensible low-lifes will encourage young people to break all the rules, cut themselves loose from their roots, and adopt a slimy lifestyle. If you think about it, you'll realize that its warning is a self-fulfilling prophecy in the sense that I certainly have a hard time trying to reason with people who remain calm when they see Pixar turn peaceful gatherings into embarrassing scandals.

To put it another way, Pixar is inherently unsavory, pathetic, and evil. Oh, and it also has an untrustworthy mode of existence. Pixar's "I'm right and you're wrong" attitude is uncompromising, because it leaves no room for compromise. In many ways, it's a pity that two thousand years after Christ, the voices of pernicious converts to solecism like Pixar can still be heard, worse still that they're listened to, and worst of all that anyone believes them.

Pixar periodically puts up a facade of reform. However, underneath the pretty surface, it's always business as usual. Churlish, demented paper-pushers who dilute the nation's sense of common purpose and shared sacrifice might not recognize the incongruities in Pixar's projects, but I want to make this clear, so that those who do not understand deeper messages embedded within sarcastic irony -- and you know who I'm referring to -- can process my point. To inform you of the grounds upon which I base my plans for the future, I offer the following. The concepts underlying Pixar's malign insinuations are like the Ptolemaic astronomy, which could not have been saved by positing more epicycles or eliminating some of the more glaring discrepancies. The fundamental idea -- that the heavens revolve around the Earth -- was wrong, just as Pixar's idea that children don't need as much psychological attentiveness, protection, and obedience training as the treasured household pet is wrong.

Of course, it is easier for me to imagine a million-dimensional vector space than the number of inconsistencies in Pixar's threats. I say "of course" because you may be wondering why pugnacious buggers latch onto Pixar's put-downs. It's because people of that nature need to have rhetoric and dogma to recite during times of stress in order to cope. That's also why I am tired of hearing or reading that Pixar has achieved sainthood. You know that that is simply not true. To reiterate the main message of this letter, egotism has nothing to do with solipsism.

Mod parent up! (-1, Redundant)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930563)

+5 Insightful. And I think I'm qualified to say.

Re:I work for Pixar (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930651)

"Pixar recently claimed that it is cunctipotent."

You just can't argue with a word like cunctipotent.

Re:I work for Pixar (1)

germ!nation (764234) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930703)

I can't even spell cunctipotent, let alone argue with it.

I had to copy and paste there :(

Re:I work for Pixar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930749)

Not a word where you want to miss out the second 'c'...

The Link Please? (0)

Thargok (661682) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930519)

Nothing on CNN.com

It works (5, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930556)

Here's the nytimes article [nytimes.com] they refer to

Jobs ready to sell Pixar: Report
Newspaper says animated studio head open to the right deal; receptive to offer from partner Disney.
October 31, 2005: 9:08 AM EST

The success of the Walt Disney Co. film "Chicken Little" could determine whether Disney or partner Pixar has the greater leverage in upcoming talks.

Pixar has had nothing but hits since it started making films in 1995.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Steve Jobs, the chairman and CEO of Pixar Animation Studios, would be open to a sale of the company at the right price, according to a published report.

The New York Times reports Jobs, who owns about 50 percent of Pixar (Research), would want a strong premium to its current $5.9 billion market capitalization to consider a sale, but he would be open to an offer from its long-time partner, Walt Disney Co. (Research) The paper attributed Jobs' willingness to consider a sale to "two people with knowledge of the talks" now taking place between Disney and Pixar about possibly extending their partnership.

But the paper reports that in talks about a new version of their partnership, Disney CEO Robert Iger has yet to make an offer to acquire Pixar. The paper reports that Disney is hoping that its new animated feature, "Chicken Little," due in theaters this weekend, will give it greater leverage in talks with Pixar.

"Chicken Little" is the first offering from Disney's animation studio since it was revamped to produce computer-generated features that have a three-dimension look, rather than the traditional hand-drawn two-dimensional cartoons.

Pixar has produced only CG features and nothing but blockbusters since it started producing movies in 1995, while many of the Disney-generated animated movies during the period were considered box office flops.

The Times reports that if "Chicken Little" is a hit, it would show Wall Street and Jobs that Disney need not depend on Pixar for creation of new animated movie characters that could be adapted for theme park rides, consumer products and television.

The movie has gotten generally favorable early word, but if it is not well received by critics or moviegoers, the paper reports that Jobs will gain leverage in his talks with Disney because the media conglomerate would be seen as relying on Pixar to add new stories to its creative arsenal.

If the movie performs poorly, Bernstein & Co. media analyst Michael Nathanson told the paper, "investors might want to see a Pixar deal right behind it." Still, he added, "it's all about numbers, and both sides - Disney and Pixar - are looking for leverage."

Pixar has strong cash reserves and no longer needs Disney's to help finance films, so it is looking for a distribution agreement for a far larger percent of the box office than the 50 percent it receives under the current deal with Disney.

But while there are likely to be other studios willing to distribute Pixar films, analysts see Disney as best positioned to promote future Pixar films and its characters due to theme parks and strong merchandise sales channels.

Jobs would evaluate any Pixar partnership based on where he could get the best deal for the studio, the paper reports, not on his developing friendship with Iger. Jobs often sparred with Iger's predecessor, Michael Eisner. The Disney Channel and ABC, other units of Disney, recently signed a deal to distribute shows on the new video version of the Apple Computer (Research) iPod. Jobs is also Chairman and CEO of Apple.

The Times reports that detailed negotiations between Disney and Pixar are likely to begin in mid-November and could be wrapped up by late December or early January, said one of the paper's sources. The studios have several issues to grapple with, according to the paper, including who would have creative oversight over new Pixar characters at Disney theme parks and how revenue from rides and other attractions would be split.

In summary: This is a news article about another news article

MOD PARENT DOWN - THINK ABOUT YOUR BREATH TROLL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930602)

Nathanson added, "Please think about your breathing."

stupid troll!!!

Makes a bit of sense (5, Insightful)

The Lost Supertone (754279) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930523)

Makes a lil sense, I mean this isn't like Apple for Jobs, this is a company he bought and helped raise up and stuff it's not the company he helped create like Apple. Though honestly I can't see why he wouldn't want to hold on to it. It's not as if he needs the cash. Unless he's planning on out right buying a really large chunk of Apple or something.

Re:Makes a bit of sense (3, Informative)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930644)

If the company is up for sale, I guess more than just Disney will be interested, despite the things the article mentions as pros for cooperation with Disney. One other I already can think of is Warner Bros (who owns them?).
The current market cap is $5.9Billion, Jobs owns 50% : $3Billion on your bankaccount can make the difference.
Maybe he can fetch double of that, plus a bonus from the other share holders for doing such a great job. Probably some of pixar personel will be happy too because of stockoption plans, making them rich overnight in case of a sale.

#Billion.... on my bankaccount $3 would make the difference (sad LOL).

Re:Makes a bit of sense (2)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930786)

What kind of a difference would another 3 billion make to him? Honestly is he going to buy fifty more planes? A thousand feraris? He is not going to retire, he is still going to wake up every day and go to work wearing his jeans and turtleneck.

At some level any more money is not going to make a damn bit of difference except to your children after you die.

Re:Makes a bit of sense (3, Interesting)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930937)

Money in certain circles is equal to power. Bill Gates has more money than Larry Ellison, and if you see and hear Larry, it certainly looks like that irritates the hell out of him, so for Larry money equals power. The other way around: Bill Gates does not seem to care, but at the same time displays his wealth with huge donations to research on malaria, and to the Bill and Melissa Gates foundation, which I think is a great way to display your wealth.
Maybe Jobs is also the person who wants more power, and having read parts of the unofficial unauthorized biography of Jobs (by some journalist), and than mainly the pieces describing is character, power means a lot to Jobs. Since money does equal power to a certain extent, it can be that it satisfies that part of his personality, even if it doesn't matter to the wealth he displays.
Seeing the current billionaires who count, displaying wealth is for the kids mainly (Paris ea). The big IT tycoons do not really display their wealth, except in gadgets (-:. The billionaire with most display of wealth is I think Donald Trump, who loves his private jet(s?), cars and names on the buildings.
So in my opinion more money for Jobs would satisfy his ego, but would not change his appearance to the outside world in any way. And for the last part: Why should he. Turtlenecks and jeans are probably more comfortable than a suit (only turtlenecks is soo seventies (and don't dare to call it retro, will ya)).

Re:Makes a bit of sense (3, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931074)

But then the question is: why sell the company?

He has that 3bn either way, just as Bill's money really isn't liquid but is in his stock.

I assume that Apple is taking up most of his time and he doesn't feel comfortable running Pixar w/o running Pixar, so to speak. I don't think it's about the money alone.

Maybe not Apple... (2, Funny)

leonbrooks (8043) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930768)

It's not as if he needs the cash. Unless he's planning on out right buying a really large chunk of Apple or something.
Or a small but important chunk of Microsoft? The successor to Windows NT 2007 (AKA Vista) might ship with default cream-and-toothgel-and-brushed-metal themes and a whooshy faux-3D taskbar! (-:

Employees not happy? (0, Troll)

gtoomey (528943) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930529)

Shareholders own and manage the company, not employees. If employees dont like it they can leave.

Re:Employees not happy? (5, Interesting)

246o1 (914193) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930558)

"Shareholders own and manage the company, not employees. If employees dont like it they can leave."
So can shareholders, except they don't have to move or disturb their life in any way. Just because someone doesn't own a company doesn't mean that we shouldn't feel sympathy for them, especially considering /.ers are much more likely to be employees at pixar than major stockholders.

Re:Employees not happy? (2, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930561)

Shareholders own and manage the company, not employees. If employees dont like it they can leave.

For companies that have much of their value in the talents of their employees, them not liking things and leaving can quickly become a very big problem for the company and its owners, to the point that it may inhibit a sale (or other management move) altogether.

A quibble: Shareholders own the company. Executives manage it. Shareholders can only influence the executives through voting for the board, who in turn oversee the executives. Unless you are a large enough shareholder to be able to put "your" people on the board you don't have much power at all.

Re:Employees not happy? (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930578)

Way to go jackass Do you have a job, and if so, are you a manager? Sorry for being rude, but an important part of any company is something we call "worker satisfaction." This is probably even more important in a creative company like Pixar, as opposed to some faceless banking company where you sit around and prep millions of lines of code for y2k. (Office Space reference if you didn't get it) Low worker satisfaction means a higher turnover rate which generally means less productivity. People need to remember that in most industries, the employees are the company. Not to sound like a Soviet Russian, but happy workers are efficient workers.

Re:Employees not happy? (1)

lohphat (521572) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930737)

What part of "A company is not a democracy" do you not understand?

Shareholders decide who will run the company, not the employees. It's not a value judgement, it's a statement of fact.

It's also a fact that the majority shareholders, not the mom and pop 100 share class have a say and those majority shareholders are usually on the board or running it. It's a scheme to make a small handfull of people wealthy -- those are the rules, those are the stakes.

If you play in a game and don't understand or like the rules, play another game.

Yes, happy employees make you feel warm and fuzzy, but the shareholders are looking for productive employees and happiness and comfort are not the only way to that end. Again, a statement, not a value judgement.

History is litteres with good companies slamming into the ground full of happy, motivated, skilled, productive employees due the ineptitude of management and their lack of vision and leadership.

Oh, please note that SGI was just delisted from the NYSE. Case in point.

Re:Employees not happy? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930797)

What happens when your workers strike?

When they decide to start calling in sick every few days

What about when your employees decide to orchestrate a work slowdown?

I don't remember what company it was, but they recently let their workers go on strike. They lost a rediculous amount of money compared to what they would have paid to settle the strike.

How do you think that made the shareholders feel?

If you've ever had to manage people who have to work together, you'll know that you can get more productivity out of a few avg workers than if you had just as many hot shot assholes.

The type of company you seem to think is "fact" sounds a lot like a call center. Its the kind of job that sucks and has high turnover, but doesn't require much skill.

Even if my characterization is wrong, I don't think the type of work environment you're imagining fits Pixar. Maybe Disney, where Eisner's abrasive personality caused significant #s of highly paid & top notch executives to leave the company, often taking with them staff members who helped run the everyday show.

"The rules," or "the stakes" is for scrabble or betting on horses, not the purchase of a multi-billion dollar company.

In conclusion, attempting to limit the scope of debate to your terms is a poor way to discuss anything. Your point of view suffers greatly whenever I step outside your structure.

Re:Employees not happy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930899)

Cue Troy McClure and the tour through the Asian animation factory where the soldiers are poking at the cell artists with bayonets at the end of their rifles.

Re:Employees not happy? (2, Interesting)

ultranova (717540) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931117)

Shareholders own and manage the company, not employees. If employees dont like it they can leave.

Then perhaps the employees should own the company. Being a janitor equals owning 1 share, secretary 3 shares, CEO 10 000 shares... And, of course, instead of paying wages, pay a monthly dividend. That would solve the whole problem, and likely give the employees better work ethics too, since the better job they do, the more valuable the company (and therefore their share of it) comes. Kicking someone from the company means that the company has to buy his share, so layoffs wouldn't happen quite so often; hiring new people is the most problematic part in this model - should they pay for the shares ?

Then again, the workers collectively owning the means of production they use in their job is, well, communism, and we can't have that, now can we ?

Movies (4, Funny)

CriminalNerd (882826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930533)

Well...Am I the only one who's worried about future movies? I mean...What will we occupy our kids with? Computers?! I mean...COME ON! It's not as if I'm going to pay for their WoW subscriptions!

Hmm... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930534)

Here's a crazy idea. Why doesn't Apple buy Pixar? It would make Jobs' erm... job a lot easier I'm sure. It just seems like it would be a good fit and would benefit both companies. It would also give Apple an edge over Microsoft in the media game and put the company more equal grounds with Sony who they also compete directly with. Just a thought...

Love em and leave em? (4, Interesting)

magicRob (815117) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930535)

So Jobs cut's a deal with his mates at Disney for TV over iTunes then once he has what he wants, tells Disney to bugger off with distribution of the Pixar flicks. I love it.

Re:Love em and leave em? (2, Informative)

berj (754323) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930838)

er.. you've got your timeline all backwards. The death of the deal with Disney happened a year or so ago...

Guess who will buy Pixar? (5, Interesting)

Matarick (566397) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930536)

I wouldn't be suprised if Lucasfilm bought back Pixar from Jobs since Lucasfilm sold Pixar in 1986 [alvyray.com] . I just hope reclaimed Pixar would work on other project besides Star Wars films.

Re:Guess who will buy Pixar? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930557)

I doubt it. Lucasfilm has been working the past few years on starting again in the pure animation realm. They have started Lucasfilm Animation [lucasfilm.com] and are currently gearing up for some real production. Interestingly enough, most of the animation is taking place in Singapore. This seems to be the way things are moving as animators are cheaper outside the US.

Re:Guess who will buy Pixar? (2, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930673)

I just hope reclaimed Pixar would work on other project besides Star Wars films.

Considering the vast amounts of money that Pixar movies rake in, they would have to be insane to do that.

Current deal (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930540)

The current deal with Disney, as I understand it:
1: All proceeds are returned to Disney until distribution costs are covered. That works out to 10-15% of all proceeds.
2: The remaining proceeds are split 50-50 between Disney and Pixar. Ultimately, that works out, in conjunction with the distribution costs, to a 60-40 or 65-35 split with Disney raking in the higher end of the money for each film Pixar created in its entirety.
3: Disney owns the rights to ALL characters appearing in Pixar movies. Pixar owns the right of refusal on sequels. ie: if Pixar opts against making a sequel to a given movie, Disney can and probably will make it with no input from Pixar. Witness Toy Story 3.

Some other tidbits from my poor memory... (1)

WoTG (610710) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930736)

The current deal was for a set number of movies, and it expires with "Cars" in 2006. There was also disagreement with respect to Toy Story 2, it was originally a "cheap sequel". Later, it got upgraded to a full fledged movie. Pixar wanted it to count against the original # of movies in the distribution agreement, Disney didn't - I don't recall what became of that.

PS. Why do I keep getting deja vu when I see the Chicken Little advertisements? Is that character (design) ripped off of some cartoon or have I just seen the trailer too many times or are there just too many bird movies this year?

Re:Some other tidbits from my poor memory... (2, Informative)

Mycroft_VIII (572950) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930944)

Ever see the old cartoon with Fogghorn Legghorn where he tries to marry the rich widdower, but has to ipress her 'genius' son?
    The genuis son character looks alot like the main char in chicken little.

Mycroft

Re:Current deal (1)

akhomerun (893103) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931052)

any idiot would get out of that deal with disney, because it sucks.

disney spends NO time and NO effort actually making the film, bringing the characters to life, and making the script, animating, etc, and just by distributing they suddenly get rights to the characters, and gets to split the profit in half.

i'm sure just about every other film company could give pixar a better deal AND would be willing to sign them up immediatly, it's not like their movies are floundering. pixar movies consistantly rake in huge profits.

Risky (4, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930542)

Disney has been in a creative slump for a number of years. They did not catch on to the technological changes very quickly, and their stories have been lacking, feeling like new cookie-cutter versions of tropes that ceased to be fresh a long time ago.

I seriously doubt bringing Pixar (or any other animation group) in-house would help, though. There is a very real risk that an already demoralised animation division gives up altogether, while the outside company's group dynamic gets destroyed by the change in corporate culture, the hostility and despair from the in-house people and the inevitable loss of people that do not wish to continue after a merger.

For such a move to work, I believe Disney needs to put its own house in order first, so there is a thriving, positive culture to merge with. If not, you'll just destroy two groups, not rescue one as the plan may be.

But then, what do I know...

Re:Risky (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930574)

I agree. Frankly, Disney is a mess. Disney Animation doubly so. They need some new leadership and need pull their heads out of their collective, well you know. They still seem to want to ride on the fact that they are Disney, and that sort of thing just doesn't cut it any more. Pixar is a perfect example of this.

Re:Risky (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930588)

Myself, I like only fresh tropes.

Re:Risky (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930637)

fuck technology in the animation, that's the main reason that disney are doing trash things, they totally forgot their roots, well I am agree that their story are garbage too but it was more or less always the case.

Re:Risky - off topic (1)

Siener (139990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930653)

Disney has been in a creative slump for a number of years. They did not catch on to the technological changes very quickly, and their stories have been lacking, feeling like new cookie-cutter versions of tropes that ceased to be fresh a long time ago.

At least they can keep on making money on Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck etc. since it's clear that those copyrights will never expire.

You're absolutely right (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930698)

Having worked at Disney recently, I think you're absolutely correct in assuming bringing Pixar in-house would not help. Disney has evolved into a corporate monster where the lawyers have a say in the creative and things don't get done since everything the company releases has to be super safe for the kids. People in-house are worried about not being "edgy" enough to attract teens while at the same time thinking that anything released by the company shouldn't worry the parents of a two-year old. Talk about conflicting priorities!

Maybe if the current management was replaced by Pixar employees... :)

Posting anonymously, for obvious reasons.

It's Just Business (4, Insightful)

MoThugz (560556) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930545)

Since when should employee happiness be the basis of whether or not to sell a company?

In the end it's the owners who decide whether to hold on to it, or divest it. However, it does seem a little unwise for Jobs to sell off what seems to be a profitable outfit.

Re:It's Just Business (2, Insightful)

humina (603463) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930615)

You're not buying much if you have a mass employee exodus and a drop in moral in the company. The whole purpose of buying pixar would be to buy it's talent(employees). The pixar brand won't last if the talent to create good movies isn't there.

Re:It's Just Business (1, Interesting)

MoThugz (560556) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930649)

Well, that's one way to look at it. But from my experience, if I really wanted the "talents" behind a company, I'd headhunt the guy. And to be honest, this would be the easiest thing to do... a little more dollars here, a little bit more perks there, chances are I can get my target in an acceptable timeframe.

If I were to takeover a company like Pixar, let's be honest here... name me 2 or 3 animators that you know for sure works there? If you're not really into the animations industry (or are not a fan of the particular artists), you'd be hard pressed to come up with those names. It's all abound the branding, baby.

I could start a brand new animations company with the best personnel in the world, but a large majority of studios would still pick Pixar over my company because of the brand power itself.

Re:It's Just Business (1)

humina (603463) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930697)

Disney has a massive brand name. If Disney could come out with some good animated movies without Pixar, then they wouldn't need to buy Pixar. The problem is that recent Disney computer animated films have not done well (especially compared to the films made by Pixar). All Disney would need to do is have a really good CGI movie and then have the previews for all of their future movie say "from the creators of that really cool movie, comes another movie". That's what Pixar is able to do by saying "from the creators of toy story, Nemo, whatever...comes a new movie" and then people go see it. Disney's problem is that they cannot create a big hit CGI movie. If Disney was smart, they would headhunt the brains behind Pixar's movies to produce a major hit that they can use for their future movies. I don't think Disney needs a whole lot more brand recognition. They simply need 1 good animated movie. Maybe that's what they are trying to buy with Pixar.

Re:It's Just Business (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930757)

The problem with Disney is management, not staff. I doubt that before Monsters Inc a film like that would get past the first manager in Disney. Buying a new company or a new talent wont change Disney management and inability to take any risks.

Re:It's Just Business (1)

tknn (675865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930709)

Yeah, and if you bought a company without knowing the industry inside and out, including who the talent is... well, i guess you will get what you deserve.

Re:It's Just Business (2, Insightful)

Siener (139990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930692)

Since when should employee happiness be the basis of whether or not to sell a company?

Since you get companies (and Pixar is one) who's biggest asset is their employees. If all the employees quit right after Pixar is sold, then there's not much else of value left.

I was employed by a software company that went through this. Many developers were "made redundant" soon after the sale and the remaining ones eventually quit. Six months down the line there were no developers left. All the company had left was seven(!) directors, numerous managers and salesmen, zero new products some "intelectual property" they could do nothing with. How long do you think they lasted?

How long do you think Pixar will last if all the people who do the actual work all quit?

Not happy? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930567)

I can't believe that Pixar employees would be happy."

Then they can get other jobs. The Marxist tone of this site never ceases to amaze...

Re:Not happy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930670)

What's so bad about a "Marxist tone"?

Marx was first to view society from the perspective of the workers, the bulk majority of people.

It's certainly a better perspective than that of the top 0.1%.

Re:Not happy? (0)

lohphat (521572) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930759)

Oh, by the way -- that system failed, if you havent noticed, in both Russia and China. Note the luxury cars in Moscow and Beijing -- they may still be repressive police states, but they are no longer communist.

Re:Not happy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930818)

haha, you got pwn3d
100% Overrated

speaking of things that have failed, you may have noticed that you have no karma.
Maybe its because THE WAY YOU TALK TO PEOPLE is a failure.

What's even worse is when the people replying to you get modded up
Note the Score:5, Interesting in this example [slashdot.org]

That's gotta sting

Nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930804)

What's so bad about a "Marxist tone"?

Nothing, except the 100s of millions that Marxism has killed and repressed.

Pixar employees will be happy ... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930571)

iff jobs does not write in something that ties them to the company. Otherwise, if the new company does not do a good job (i.e. starts firing or brings in some idiot manager), then I suspect that a number of VC will be after them to start up pixat competitors. And that is good.

So, after he sells them... (5, Funny)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930572)

will the headline be
Pixar Employees Lose Their Jobs?

Re:So, after he sells them... (1)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930766)

or 'A Toy Story with an unhappy ending'

Disney would be stupid not to buy (4, Insightful)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930584)

Regardless of the success of Chicken Little, buying Pixar would be buying exactly what Disney needs - a company full of talented, creative overachievers who care as much about their art and storytelling as profits and dollar signs (which they have no problem making plenty of).

The best idea would be to buy Pixar and leave it the hell alone - a Hong Kong for Disney's People's Republic.

Beautiful Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930724)

You get +1 arse-kicking points.

First multi-button, then Mickey... (5, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930590)

What is it with Jobs and resisting mouse-related progress?

Add your own, presumably better, mouse-related gags if you wish. ;)

Re:First multi-button, then Mickey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13931044)

I suspect he's just having a little difficulty in accepting his role in Life, The Universe And Everything?

Give Jobs Credit (4, Interesting)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930613)

Although I'd never buy a Mac, I give Jobs and his employees credit for:

1. Showing the hacks who run Disney that not all movies have to suck. It is possible to make an animated movie that's actually watchable and somewhat entertaining. Just think about the crappy cartoons that existed before Pixar movies, in case you don't agree.

2. Showing that Disney totally sucks. Empereror has no clothes. They can crank out schlocky sequels, but that's about it. A bit like the video game business -- indies do it better. The big publishers are filled with money-grubbing power seekers. With Jobs, I think that money is just for keeping score -- his main goal is to make superb stuff.

3. Pixar has run cirles around Eisner, Katzenberg, Spielberg and Geffen. The media bosses suck. Jobs has more talent than those greedy, grasping, imitative, uncreative hacks.

Re:Give Jobs Credit (1)

krunk4ever (856261) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930933)

1. Showing the hacks who run Disney that not all movies have to suck. It is possible to make an animated movie that's actually watchable and somewhat entertaining. Just think about the crappy cartoons that existed before Pixar movies, in case you don't agree.

Not all cartoons sucked before Pixar movies. In fact, Disney for some time was making GREAT animations. Think about Aladdin, Lion King, and several other movies BEFORE Lion King. I think Lion King was the real last "great" Disney animation per se. Lilo and Stitch is arguable, but not "great" in the sense like Lion King or Aladdin.

Re:Give Jobs Credit (1)

fprintf (82740) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931072)

Gotta agree with this point. And hand/computer drawn animation cartoons have not all sucked from Disney since Pixar either. My favorite animated movie of all time is Mulan (1998)http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120762/ [imdb.com]

Re:Give Jobs Credit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13931034)

Sorry to be off-topic, and this is a serious question and not meant to start a flamewar, but why wouldn't you buy a Mac?

Oh please... (4, Insightful)

seanellis (302682) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930628)

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Can you imagine the lively, engaging style of Pixar stuggling to survive the diktats for formulaic plot heaped upon it by Disney execs? Think "The Emperor's New Groove" but done with shiny new CG. Ugh.

Re:Oh please... (2, Insightful)

alnya (513364) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930686)

The Emperor's New Groove is a misunderstood classic.

No touchy!

Re:Oh please... (1)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930783)

Given that Mark Dindal is directing Chicken Little (he did Emperor's New Groove and Cats Don't Dance previously) I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Re:Oh please... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930760)

Actually the last three Disney 2D films were quite good. Especially good considering it was Disney.

The Emporers New Groove - imagine a modern Chuck Jones movie

Lilo and Stitch - actually hits all the right emotional buttons without falling into tripe

Home on the Range - funny with excellent style and animation (and not your standard Disney overwrought animation)

 

Re:Oh please... (3, Informative)

Flyboy Connor (741764) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930942)

Think "The Emperor's New Groove" but done with shiny new CG. Ugh.

Bad example. "The Emperor's New Groove" is actually one of the very best Disney films of recent years. It is a lot of fun, doesn't take itself seriously, for once has an obnoxious hero who does not really become a sweet guy at the end, and has a very original style. But it sucked at the box office and DVD sales, so I am wondering that maybe those suits really know what they are doing when they make the team focus on crappy sequels for blockbusters. They are not in it for the art, you know.

Can't believe that Pixar employees would be happy (3, Interesting)

St. Arbirix (218306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930722)

Depends on where they are on the geek scale. Disney being the analog of Satan in the computer/copyright world, no I can't imagine they'd be very happy.

OTOH, if they still believe that hiding behind that multiply-protected-by-acts-of-Congress cute mouse of Disney's is... more cute mice, then I'm sure they'd be ecstatic.

The question I want to know is why Jobs would sell Pixar? The clearest answer I can see has something to do with Jobs's little iPod video thingy and Disney's little "we own your whole damn childhood" movie archive...

Jobs Selling Out? (0, Flamebait)

ACORN_USER (902686) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930726)

Is it me or is Steve Jobs morphing into some kind of Billie-the-Goats wannabe? He's rapidly moved from an idealist, visionary, out to make a better and more accessible world for the masses into a profiteer, who is out to appeal with the obvious.

I get the feeling that his return to Apple was 'sweet-as,' right up to the release of OS-X and the eventual world dominance of the i-pod. There after, it appears that his ethos for doing things 'best,' both technically and ergonomically have gone out the window. He's selling off the back of his brand and coming up with, praise worthy, but obvious pitches. I think the whole move to x86 and early release of the flaky nano are both good examples of power getting the better of him. The selling of Pixar is another pin in that cushion. Apple doesn't need to be Microsoft and Steve doesn't need to be Bill. In spite of this, he's gone from wanting to be a pioneer with standards to being a business man with greed in his eye.

We really need Woz to come back and shake him up a tad!

COSBY (1)

queef_latina (847562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930727)

bill cosby is a nignog.

Any Pixar employees here? (1)

Anonymous Writer (746272) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930748)

Has Jobs been doing his "reality distortion field visionary leader" bit with Pixar, or has he just been a major stockholder while the company has been going on it's own momentum? Would the sale of Pixar result in layoffs and lower morale, or would the company simply go on the same way it is, or possibly even improve with more investment?

Jobs cashing out ? (4, Interesting)

shashark (836922) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930764)

Just a random thought: Considering what Jobs can do with Apple, Jobs would need to buy out some minority partners to have more board control in Apple (Valued at about $50bn http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=aapl [yahoo.com] ) -- and for that he would need good cash. That cash can come out of Pixar.

Apple would sure do better with Jobs in better control (of the board) and with Microsoft blundering big-time, MAC could be the next windows. Better control would also decrease the probability of a Sculley-like 1985 takeover Deja-vu.

On a side note, the fact that Google's founders have a unique 3:1 voting power in the board (you can google to find more about it) reflects on the way they focus and innovate tirelessly. Also, the stories of Billy B Gates and Larry "I am God" Ellison and numerous other Successful Owner-CEOs would tell you that when it comes to running (and being in control of) your own damn public limited company, your ownership (shares) is very critical, no matter how good (or bad) a CEO are you.

And, as a reminder, we must never forget how HP (the HP way) got screwed by board politics.

Let pixar be Disney's, but I'll bet you'll want Apple to be Jobs. If Pixar's sale can help him do that, so be it.

Cheers!
(Followed by Sculley "I'm the CTO" Jokes...)

Re:Jobs cashing out ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930893)

I dunno. Jobs has had some pretty serious (and scary) health issues lately, and I suspect that he is really just wanting to get off the CEO-of-two-companies-at-once track. Can't blame him. It is stressful enough to work for two different companies even when you're not a famously hands-on CEO type.

Re:Jobs cashing out ? (2)

Sweep The Leg (925950) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931095)

I agree with you on Jobs buying out, but to say Microsoft is blundering big-time is dead wrong.

1. Microsoft just released .NET 2.0
2. Microsoft just released VS.NET 2005
3. Microsoft just released SQL Server 2005 (big release IMO)
4. Microsoft just released a new version of Visual Source Safe with web services and SQL backend
5. Microsoft is due to release Vista shortly, a new round of Office products, and mroe
6. Sharepoint IS actually doing well in the govt and growing in the private sector -- all the bid proposals I keep getting faxed to me prove this if anything

It is clear that Microsoft is going to have a huge 2006 and possibly a bigger 2007 in some ways (once some of these things catch on more). You may be unaware, but MS doesn't just make money on software -- there's training, contracting, etc. There will be a new wave of contractors learning all this stuff and spreading it. If anything, Apple may need to increase liquidity or else they could see a lot of their OS/X ground they gained go to waste. Add to that uncertainty over new Intel based Apples. I think you get the idea.

That said, you are also correct about needing to control your own board. The recent trend has been to take a number of companies private. Remember the goal of any public company in the minds of the board is usually to increase Shareholder wealth. That is often contrary to real innovation -- see Intel.

He can do whatever he wants with it (1)

RickySan (887756) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930799)

If Jobs is the owner he can do whatever he wants to do with that company. Disgruntled employees or not. Face it their employees not owners, it takes an employee to come up with the idea that they have something to say about whats going on in a company, or what a owner should do with it. It's a selfish world out there, and people like Jobs know that, that's why they have more money in their bank accounts then most of us do.

Is Disney buying Pixar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930825)

Or is it just how NeXT was "bought" by Apple?

A Neat Pixar/Disney Story (4, Interesting)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930827)

The Pixar/Disney story is very interesting, if only for showing the kind of attitude that Pixar has (compared with the normal Hollywood flacks): when push came to shove, Pixar made the move "their way", walking away from the Disney bosses and their "Geld". Shortly thereafter the Disney media bosses decided it really was the best thing ever, and got back on board. And they proceeded to take as much credit for the outcome as they could, of course. If you've ever worked with the publisher/media boss types, you know what they are like, and greatly appreciate the backbone that Jobs and company showed.

Here's the source of this quote [sfgate.com] :

... Disney, which was bankrolling the project, peppered the young animators with notes and suggestions. The story was too juvenile, the higher-ups said, and the characters had to be edgier. Afraid to trust themselves, Lasseter and his crew tried to follow all the directions.

It was, nearly everyone agrees, a train wreck. Disney hated the movie and the idea -- and shut it down.

"Yeah that was fun,'' jokes Pete Docter, who was nominated for Oscars for "Toy Story'' and "Monsters, Inc.'' "And it happened right around Christmas, too.''

Lasseter recalls that he "begged'' for two weeks to fix things. The animators went back, took out all of Disney's suggestions and made the movie they wanted to make in the first place.

And, naturally, when they screened the new version, Disney execs loved it...

Thanks media bosses!

Re:A Neat Pixar/Disney Story (2, Informative)

dcuny (613699) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930983)

Odd, I picked up Toy Story: The Art and Making of the Animated Film, and it tells an entirely different story. In this version, Pixar's "Black Monday" arrived November 17, 1993 when the creative team got their first look at the assembled story reels. There were serious problems with the story, especially with Woody's character.

  • "If anybody helped us get back on the wagon most, it was the creative people at Disney," says Stanton. "Con Clements and John Musker [co-directors of Aladding and The Little Mermaid] were terrific. They immediately said, listen guys, you'll get through this. We went through it on Aladdin, and you'll turn it around.

Still, I agree that Disney purchasing Pixar would be a complete disaster, in terms of blending cultures.

Jobs will sell Pixar for... (4, Funny)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930868)

*puts pinky finger on corner of mouth* ...ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS!

What about Pixar's Software Arm? (2, Interesting)

wasudeo (201920) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930873)

If Disney buys Pixar what would happen to its software arm? For the uninitiated, they make a world class renderer called RenderMan.


Somehow I can't see Disney getting into software...

Re:What about Pixar's Software Arm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13931103)

Actually, Pixar makes a world-class renderer called PRMan (which, incidentally, probably is more like the second rather than most sophisticated renderer used in Hollywood--just going to show that Pixar's success isn't all about technology). RenderMan is a standard (also created by Pixar, but supported by more than just PRMan) for a shading language, similar in scope and purpose to OpenGL with GLSL, although for extremely high end, offline rendering (shaders run on general purpose processors).

1 + 1 still equals 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930888)

At this point, if Disney continues it's relationship with Pixar, Disney essentially becomes a competitor against it's own, newly invigorated animation studio. At least, it's in an awkward position. In that sense, Disney buying Pixar and integrating it's own animation studio assets with the acquisition makes a lot of sense for Disney, particularly if they set it up as a subsidiary company and preserve Pixar's brand.

The question is, does it make sense for Jobs. Pixar has been a hit machine. In an age where box office receipts have become less forgiving of expensive major studio offerings of questionable quality, Pixar's destiny is largely up to Pixar. Jobs has the better hand here and I think he knows it. Sell the company? Better have a better answer than just a lot of money in the bank.

Then why would the employees stay? (2, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930962)

Unless Disney give them serious personal investment in the company, they'll just up and leave to form a new competing studio. That's pretty much par for the course.

Remember NeXT and Apple? (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930982)

This could be a win-win situation. If Disney buys Pixar, I'll be quizzing my friends there on how it's going management-wise. If it looks like a repeat of the Apple/NeXT merger, I'll buy a pile of Disney shares, and watch them double in value in three to four years.

When Apple acquired NeXT, their top three levels of management were pretty much replaced with NeXT employees. The result: a revitalized Apple, which has grown from a nadir of about $2B in market capitalization, to todays $47 billion company.

If Disney acquires Pixar, and puts John Lasseter in charge of animation, it could be a great thing for both companies. The Pixar employees (most of them are shareholders) get a nice bundle of Disney shares for their Pixar equity, and those Disney shares then take off when the effect of Pixar's influence on the Disney organization starts to become obvious to Wall Street.

-jcr

Eisner factor (1)

rtphokie (518490) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931068)

It's no coincidence that the Disney-Pixar relationship improved after Eisner left. He was like oil and water with many he dealt with, especially when it came to Pixar.

silly rumors... (4, Insightful)

constantnormal (512494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13931129)

... and silly Slashdotters who will believe anything they read on the web.

  • What's the motivation for this? Last time I checked, Steve Jobs was not one of the bigger shareholders [yahoo.com] , so he would get little out of the deal, except to cede control of the one place which he can guarantee will allow Apple to sell movies via iTMS.

  • How much would it go for? The NYT piece says such a sale would have to command a premium over the current market valuation (over $6B). Given annual revenues approaching $300M and heading into some new distribution arrangements that are likely to significantly raise that amount (hint: they are slaves to Disney under the current arrangement, with Disney taking the lion's share of the profits and owning all the I.P.), such a sale price is highly speculative, but I would think something on the order of $9B (or a share price of about $75) would be in the ballpark.

  • Who would buy it? Disney could pull off such an acquisition, but if would strain the resources of the Mouse, and would require either issuing a boatload of new stock (pissing off the current stockholders by diluting their holdings) or taking on massive amounts of debt (at a time when interest rates are rising) or some combination thereof. Microsoft is a much more likely prospect, as they would give anything to expand out of their software box into other realms -- why do you think they're sinking boatloads of money into the Xbox? But the odds of Steve Jobs selling Pixar to Bill Gates are only slightly better than those of SCO bringing IBM to its knees -- I think.

  • Who benefits? The obvious parties here are the mutual fund holders, who would gleefully pocket their profits. But then they also profit if Pixar continues on course to some new distribution arrangement with Disney, Sony, or whomever, significantly increasing the company's revenues in the process. Once a new distribution arrangement is announced, removing some of the uncertainty about the future of Pixar, a reasonable expectation would be for the stock to rise, reflecting the increased profitability (which depends upon the details of whatever distribution arrangement Steve works out with the new partners -- Steve isn't widely known for being generous in such dealings). It surely will not be more than a couple of years after the new distribution arrangement is concluded that Pixar's stock price hits 75, and possibly as little as 12-15 months.

I see no reason for Pixar, mutual funds, or individual stockholders to sell Pixar stock at this point.
The NYT probably just phoned Michael Eisner and asked for a good story to print.

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