Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company has announced that Disney has agreed to acquire computer animation company Pixar in an all-stock transaction, expected to be completed by this summer (USA). Under terms of the agreement, 2.3 Disney shares will be issued for each Pixar share, for a total transaction value of is US$7.4 billion (US$6.3 billion net of Pixar's cash of just over US$1 billion).
This acquisition combines Pixar's creative and technological resources with Disney's portfolio of family entertainment, characters, theme parks and other franchises. The companis believe this will result in a huge potential for new creative output and technological innovation.
With 20 Academy Awards, Pixar's creative team and global box office success have made it a leader in quality family entertainment through incomparable storytelling abilities, creative vision and innovative technical artistry.
Pixar President Ed Catmull will serve as President of the new Pixar and Disney animation studios, reporting to Iger and Dick Cook, Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. In addition, Pixar Executive Vice President John Lasseter will be Chief Creative Officer of the animation studios, as well as Principal Creative Advisor at Walt Disney Imagineering, where he will provide his expertise in the design of new attractions for Disney theme parks around the world, reporting directly to Iger.
Pixar Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs will be appointed to Disney's Board of Directors as a non-independent member. With the addition of Jobs, 11 of Disney's 14 directors will be independent. Both Disney and Pixar animation units will retain their current operations and locations.
"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."
Pixar's 20-year creative track record includes the hits Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. Disney will also have increased ability to fully capitalize on Pixar-created characters and franchises on high-growth digital platforms such as video games, broadband and wireless, as well as traditional media outlets, including theme parks, consumer products and live stage plays.
Disney first entered into a feature film agreement with Pixar in 1991, resulting in the release of Toy Story, released in November 1995. In 1997, Disney extended its relationship with Pixar by entering into a co-production agreement, under which Pixar agreed to produce on an exclusive basis five original computer-animated feature films for distribution by Disney. Pixar is currently in production on the final film under that agreement, Cars, to be distributed by Disney in 2006.