I've got a monopoly to maintain! I own the electric company, and the water works... plus the hotel on Baltic Avenue!

Well... look who's come crawling back.

Disney in Talks to Buy Pixar

NEW YORK - The Walt Disney Co. is in serious talks to buy Pixar Animation Studios Inc., the maker of the hit movies "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo" among others, following months of exploring how to continue their profitable film distribution partnership, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Disney and Pixar have been partners for more than 12 years, allowing Disney to distribute and co-finance popular and profitable Pixar movies that have also included "The Incredibles." But Jobs said two years ago, amid squabbles with then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner, that he would end that relationship when it expires later this year and seek a new distribution partner.

Disney's current CEO Robert Iger, who took over last October, has reportedly made continuing the companies' relationship a priority. Iger last fall allowed Disney TV shows like "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" to be made available in a format that could be downloaded and played on iPods.

There has been weeks of speculation that Disney might try to take a stake in Pixar or buy it outright.

The Journal said the companies are still haggling over a price, and any major moves in Pixar's stock price could disrupt negotiations. The newspaper said the two sides could decide on a less-ambitious plan, including an agreement for Disney to distribute movies that Pixar finances and makes.

I don't think it came as any big shock to anyone when Pixar dumped Disney. They've been making films far superior to the drek that Disney has been churning out year after year after year. I guess the farm got a little lonely once the cash cow left.

Pixar's films are brilliant; one aspect of them that I really love and appreciate is that they very rarely indulge in the lame attempts at humor and "being hip" that Dreamworks and Disney seem unable to give up.

Fart jokes and belches right in the trailer? That's probably the best joke in the movie. Not a Pixar film.

Lame pop culture references jammed in to the script, presumably so "the parents have something too?" Not a Pixar film.

Maudlin moments that never bring about a genuine emotional response from an audience, but are simple, overly-sentimental heartstring-tugging that more or less leaves you cold? Not a Pixar film.

If you ask me, Pixar is the reason that the "Best Animated Feature" award was created. "Real" actors obviously couldn't take the blow to the ego by being beaten by a cartoon, but Pixar's films are so goddamned good, they became impossible to simply leave out of the Oscars. I'm a big fan of Animation, but I must say, I find the "Animated Feature" award a little insulting. Best Picture should be Best Picture, regardless if it's made with human beings, or zeroes and ones. But I digress.

I suppose the underwhelming response to Chicken Little helped to spur this buying bid.

Citing unnamed people familiar with the plan, the Journal said Disney would pay a nominal premium to Pixar's current market value of $6.7 billion under the deal being discussed in a stock transaction that would make Pixar chief executive Steve Jobs the largest individual shareholder in Disney.

Pixar shares were up $3.24, or 5.7 percent, to $60.50 in premarket trading while Disney shares were down 22 cents at $25.

Jobs is the largest shareholder in Pixar, with more than 60 million shares, or 50.6 percent, according to Pixar's filings with securities regulators last year. At its current share price, his stake is worth about $3.44 billion.

Jobs is already a force in the media business as he also heads Apple Computer Inc., which reported Wednesday that first-quarter income nearly doubled on record revenue and big demand for its iPod music players.

You know, it would really do my heart good to see Steve Jobs tell Disney to take a flying leap off the Matterhorn. They obviously don't need the partnership, and Pixar seems to be one of the few movie studios left that believe in the film first, profit second.

Just once, it would be nice to see art trump cash... know what I mean?

G'day, Disney... fancy a chat in my cave?

(Cross-posts are your best entertainment value.)

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