Disney confirms Pixar acquisition

Jobs joins Mouse board

Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios Tuesday unveiled a hotly anticipated merger that marks the end of Pixar’s status as possibly the most successful independent film company ever, and promises a renaissance at Disney’s animation division.

Disney will acquire Pixar in an all-stock transaction worth about $7.4 billion expected to be completed by this summer.

Terms call for 2.3 Disney shares to be issued for each outstanding share of Pixar.

As most deals do, it’s likely to bring a degree of culture clash and a number of layoffs — particularly in Disney’s animation division.

Pixar president Ed Catmull will serve as president of the new Pixar and Disney animation studios, reporting to Disney CEO Bob Iger and to Dick Cook, chairman Walt Disney Studios.

Pixar exec VP John Lasseter will be chief creative officer of the animation studios. He’ll also become principal creative adviser at Walt Disney Imagineering, designing attractions for Disney theme parks, and reporting directly to Iger.

Pixar chairman Steve Jobs will join Disney’s board as a non-independent director. He owns 50.6% of Pixar and thus will become one of Disney’s largest shareholders.

“Disney and Pixar can now collaborate without the barriers that come from two different companies with two different sets of shareholders,” Jobs said in a statement.

The companies know each other well but their 15-year production and distribution pact threatened to collapse several years ago under Disney’s former CEO Michael Eisner and Jobs weren’t able to come to terms. Iger, who formally took the Mouse’s reins last Oct. 1, has moved fast — turning the long-term relationship into a marriage.

The boards of both Pixar and Disney have approved the deal. Pixar shareholders must approve it as well.

The companies will be hosting a conference call to discuss the deal at 5:15 ET Tuesday.