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Disney in Merger Talks with Pixar

Media and entertainment giant Walt Disney Company is in discussions to buy Pixar animation studios in a transaction that would make Pixar Chairperson and CEO Steve Jobs the largest individual shareholder in Disney, The Wall Street Journal said on Thursday.

Disney would pay for the transaction a nominal premium to Pixar's current market value of $6.7-billion, said the newspaper quoting people familiar with the talks, which are reported to be at a sensitive stage with an uncertain outcome.

If the merger goes through, it would bolster Job's influence. As Pixar's chief stockholder (50.6 percent) he is already one of the most influential media players in the United States.

Disney and Pixar have already benefited from a ten-year-long partnership in the fields of production and distribution that is scheduled to run out this year after both companies in January 2004 unexpectedly decided not to renew it.

After Robert Iger replaced Michael Eisner at Disney's top office last year, both companies resumed normal relations and their dialogue.
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