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Disney and Pixar renew negotiations, Iger says

“We’d certainly like to figure out a way to continue to do business with them,” Iger, 54, said during a Deutsche Bank conference in New York. “I think that’s mutual. We’ve gotten to understand the issues that are most important to both sides, whether they’re financial or creative.”

The partnership, scheduled to expire next year, has already generated $3.2 billion in worldwide box-office receipts.

Iger’s comments followed a remark last month that the companies had held “informal talks.” The discussions signal relations between Disney, the No. 2 media company, and Pixar have warmed since Iger was picked to succeed Michael Eisner, 63, as chief executive officer in September. Eisner clashed with Pixar CEO Steven Jobs.

“If they are indeed talking, they might be heading in the right direction,” said Adi Kishore, director of media and entertainment at Boston research firm Yankee Group.

Iger made the comments about renewing talks with Pixar in listing his accomplishments since March, when he was selected as Eisner’s successor.

Disney spokeswoman Michelle Bergman would not comment. Pixar spokesman Nils Erdmann didn’t return a call seeking comment.

Pixar last year halted talks to renew its Disney distribution contract, which ends in 2006 with the film Cars. The two companies split costs and profits equally after Disney receives distribution fees.

Shares of Pixar rose as high as $53.75 in extended trading after falling 67 cents to close at $52.71 in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. Disney shares rose 21 cents to close at $27.29 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Iger’s comments also followed remarks Monday by Jobs, 50, who told financial news network CNBC that he has had some “great discussions with Bob Iger.”

“We’ll see where it goes,” Jobs said. “We’ll sit down and have some serious discussions, hopefully within the next month or two.”

Under the partnership, Pixar has created six films including Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo and last year’s The Incredibles.


About Lou Mongello

Lou Mongello is a former attorney who left the practice to pursue his passion, and is now a recognized Disney expert, author, speaker, and host of WDW Radio. Learn more…

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