Reports: Disney close to Pixar deal

Steve Jobs' Pixar still must agree, but entertainment giant's board has given its nod, reports say.

Walt Disney Co.'s board of directors has given its approval to make an offer to buy Pixar Animation Studios, the independent studio responsible for hits such as "Toy Story" and "The Incredibles," according to published reports.

After day-long meetings on Monday, the entertainment giant's board gave Chief Executive Robert Iger the right to offer Pixar close to $7 billion in stock for an acquisition deal, the New York Times reported, citing "people briefed on the negotiations." The Wall Street Journal offered a similar account, saying the purchase price would offer a "small premium" for Pixar's shares. The company's stock closed Monday at $58.27, giving the company a market value of $6.93 billion.

The deal must still be approved by the Pixar board, and several critical details that could prevent its completion remained outstanding, several reports warned.

According to a separate report in Business Week, Pixar Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs would take a seat on Disney's board. Jobs would become the largest shareholder in Disney, owning about 7 percent of the company's stock, the magazine noted.

If completed, the deal itself is likely to be announced on Tuesday, reports said.

A Pixar representative declined to comment. However, people familiar with the situation told CNET News.com the Emeryville, Calif.-based company's board was to meet by telephone on Tuesday.

A Disney spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

The two companies have been negotiating over whether Disney would continue to distribute Pixar's work, as it has done since the smaller company's first feature film, "Toy Story," in 1995. Pixar's upcoming movie "Cars" will be the last film distributed under their previous relationship.

Pixar had broken off talks with Disney and then-CEO Michael Eisner in January 2004. However, relations between Jobs and Iger appear to have been far more cordial. The two appeared on stage together in October as Jobs launched Apple Computer's video iPod and a video store that included TV shows from Disney.

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