Stock superhero Pixar does the splits

Board OKs 2fer stock split

NEW YORK — The Pixar Animation Studios board has approved a two-for-one stock split in a move to open up the investor playing field.

Pixar shares have been trading in the low $90 range of late, easily more than triple the price of most media and entertainment stocks.

By splitting the stock in half, the purchase price will be far more affordable for investors wanting a piece of Pixar.

There also will be double the number of shares — 200 million vs. the current 100 million.

When the closing bell rings on April 4, Pixar shareholders of record will receive one additional share for each they already own. Trading on a split-adjusted basis will commence on April 19, company said.

At this time last year, Pixar shares were trading on the Nasdaq at just $63. Stock price peaked at roughly $95 in early December. Shares closed up 5% at $92.15 Wednesday.

Splitting a stock is a luxury many companies can’t afford these days as it requires a high stock price.

Pixar ended 2004 with a robust $855 million in cash and projects it will amass a hoard of $1 billion by the end of this year.

Financial confidence means Pixar prexy Steve Jobs will be in a strong position when figuring out who the studio’s next distribution partner will be when the current pact with Walt Disney ends upon release of “Cars” in June 2006.

Incoming Disney CEO Robert Iger says he wants to keep the negotiating channels open with Jobs. But so far, Jobs hasn’t said whether he’s interested in reupping with the Mouse House, even with new leadership and Michael Eisner gone.

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