Disney to buy Pixar, put Jobs on board

Disney has agreed to buy animation studio Pixar and put Steve Jobs on its board.

The Walt Disney Co. has agreed to acquire Pixar, the animation studio headed by Apple Computer chief Steve Jobs, in a long-anticipated US$7.4 billion deal that will put Jobs on Disney's board of directors, the companies announced Tuesday.

Pixar, based in Emeryville, California, has parlayed its digital animation expertise and distribution partnerships with Disney into a string of blockbuster hits since 1995, including Toy Story, Monsters, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles.

Jobs, chief executive officer (CEO) and a co-founder of Apple, also co-founded Pixar in 1986. He is chairman and CEO at the studio and owns approximately 50.6 percent of the outstanding shares of Pixar, according to a press release issued by Disney and Pixar Tuesday. Pixar shareholders would receive 2.3 Disney shares for each Pixar share in the all-stock deal, the companies said, and Jobs would become the largest individual shareholder of Disney following the deal's close, according to news reports.

In 2005, Jobs was worth $US3.3 billion, making him the 67th richest person in the U.S., according to the Forbes magazine's Forbes 400 list.

The boards of both companies have approved the acquisition but it still needs shareholder and regulatory approval. The companies said they expect the acquisition to close in the summer, which in North America typically means June, July and August.

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