Friday, May 5, 2006 will likely be a date soon forgotten by many. Yet the importance of a short meeting held at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art should not be overlooked. This was the day that Pixar stockholders were to vote on the question of the proposed merger with Disney. A crowd of perhaps a hundred people gathered in the museum’s Phyllis Wattis Theater for the meeting. The stage was set with three stools and a black curtain for a backdrop. Documents mailed to shareholders indicated a 10:00 a.m. starting time. That came and went as the theater filled, with stockholders having to be searched before entering to prevent the use of any recording devices.
Photo fun by Nancy Stadler
At 10:17 a.m., the stage was taken by three people and the meeting was called to order. Simon Bax, the Chief Financial Officer, explained the process that was about to take place and described the content of the morning’s meeting. After the business was conducted, there would be short remarks made by Ed Catmull, co-founder and president of Pixar. Lois Scali, the general counsel for Pixar was the third person on stage and she made no comments during the meeting. Simon Bax conducted the business meeting. A final call was made to allow stockholders the opportunity to vote their proxies and the polls were closed at 10:23 a.m. The results were then announced with the stockholders voting to approve the merger of Pixar with the Disney-owned Lux Acquisition Company. Pixar then became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company. At 10:25 a.m., the business meeting was adjourned. Ed Catmull then addressed the audience and gave a brief history of Pixar and the merger. In the company’s 20-year history, the highlight’s of that first decade were the partnership between Disney & Pixar and the production of "Toy Story" along with Pixar becoming a publicly held company. Along the way, there were many opportunities to learn lessons, some harder than others. As the end of the second decade approached things had indeed changed with the construction of the studio and the impending end of the partnership deal with Disney. He highlighted the fact that changes in the leadership at Disney had become a major factor in the decision to resume discussions with Disney. One lesson that came into play was that Pixar had not been as successful as hoped in at efforts of marketing its own products. At the core of Pixar is the goal to make films that touch people all around the world. In the end, it was decided that the best way to do that was to join Disney. Ed touched on the culture of Pixar. While there had been apprehension when the merger was first announced, he felt that things today were as they had been before the announcement. He also commented that the people at Disney had been nothing but gracious during this process and completely supportive of Pixar. Finally, he thanked the stockholders for their support of the company and that the success of the company would not have been possible without them all. And with that, at 10:30 a.m., the meeting was adjourned. On exiting the theater, the audience was given a poster for “Cars," a pin for the “One Man Band” short and the opportunity to visit the MOMA.
Copyright Disney Pixar
Simple, short and to the point, Pixar ceased to be an independent animation studio. A number of people sat as the meeting broke, seemingly waiting for something more to take place. Unlike the Disney stockholders meeting earlier this year in Anaheim, there were no photo ops with costumed characters nor showings of previews for films.
Instead it was a simple, to the point meeting. If anyone was expecting a farewell to company, this was not to be. Instead, this was a clean, quick break as the next chapter in Pixar's history begins. Your thoughts?