Apple CEO Steve Jobs is now an even wealthier man, and it has nothing to do with iPod sales. Disney is indeed buying Pixar, the computer animation studio Jobs bought off George Lucas, for a rumoured $7.4bn.
As the majority shareholder in Pixar, Jobs walks away with a good chunk of that $7.4bn, though since the deal is a share-swap - at a rate of 2.3 Disney shares for each Pixar share - it's paper wealth rather than good hard cash. He also gets a seat on Disney's board.
Disney has done rather well for itself by distributing Pixar's creative output. The animation studio's movies have proved rather more successful - certainly from a critical standpoint - than Disney's own saccharine efforts. Most students of the genre wouldn't trade a million Lion King 3s for a single Incredibles.
The good news for the rest of us is the appointment of Toy Story director and Pixar executive VP John Lasseter to the role of chief creative officer at the animation studios. Pixar President Ed Catmull will serve as president of the new Pixar and Disney animation studios. The appointments bode well for the quality of Disney's future animation output.
The move is widely being viewed as good news for Apple, too, particularly its fledgling media resale business. Apple's iTunes Music Store (ITMS) began offering short Disney movies this week. It's only a matter of time before ITMS begins to offer full-length films, and with Jobs on Disney's board the appropriate licensing negotiations should run more smoothly. ®