For the venerable animation giant, the move is a significant bet on Pixar's digital approach as the successor to the pen-and-ink industry popularized by Walt Disney. The purchase is also the latest indication of a tectonic collision between technology and Hollywood.
Two Pixar veterans will head Disney's animation efforts. Ed Catmull, who had served as Pixar's president, was named president of the combined Pixar and Disney Animation Studios. John Lasseter, the Pixar executive vice president who is widely regarded as the studio's creative leader, was named chief creative officer. Pixar will remain in its San Francisco Bay Area headquarters.
Jobs said Pixar's main choices came down to selling out to Disney or working with another studio under a deal like Lucasfilm has with Twentieth Century Fox, in which the larger studio gets only a distribution fee. The latter option was somewhat attractive, Jobs said, but would still result in an arrangement with "two companies with two separate sets of shareholders and two different agendas."