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ValleyTalk

Valleytalk add Apple of Disney’s Eye? The Internet blazed last week with rumors that Walt Disney Co. was in talks to acquire Pixar Animation Studios and possibly even Apple Computer in a massive, multibillion-dollar stock swap. The story first cropped up early last week on the Internet at the AppleInsider Web Board, an industry chat room. Since then, the rumor has flown around town via studios’ e-mail and fueled by reports that Steve Jobs, chief of both Pixar and Apple, was being sighted at Disney’s Burbank headquarters. According to a Pixar employee, other members of the company’s executive team were in Los Angeles last week. Disney owns a 5 percent stake in Pixar, the computer animation company behind the wildly popular “Toy Story” and “A Bug’s Life.” Those films are part of a five-film agreement between the two companies. The benefit Disney would derive from acquiring Apple is less clear, although an AppleInsider source speculated that Jobs has sold longtime friend Michael Eisner on Apple’s famed cutting-edge inventiveness. The rumor likely will be either shot down or confirmed at the Disney shareholder meeting on Feb. 23. Spokesmen for both Disney and Pixar responded in identical terms, saying they never comment on rumors or speculations.

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