The split between Disney and Pixar may have been driven by personal differences between the two CEOs, Micheal Eisner and Steve Jobs.
The LA Times claims personal differences affected their business relationship, citing sources. The report adds that months before the release of Pixar's blockbuster Finding Nemo movie Eisner warned the board not to expect a blockbuster. Reported fact is, he thought that should the movie falter Disney would be able to use that as ammunition to secure a better deal from Pixar.
Pixar, Eisner concluded, may be headed for "a reality check," the report says. The movie went on to make more money than any animated picture in history.
Those close to the protagonists say the two strong-willed CEOs let personal differences cloud their objectivity. And in talks to extend their existing five-year deal, Jobs offered a deal that was too onerous for Disney.
"The relationship went sour when Michael didn't treat Jobs and the Pixar machine as a giant creative engine – he treated them as second-class citizens," said former Disney board member Stanley Gold, who resigned last year with fellow director Roy E Disney in a dispute with Eisner," the report says.
The extensive report continues to explore the many contretemps between the CEOs, including a classic moment in which Eisner singled-out Apple's 'Rip, Mix, Burn' slogan as symbolic of technological companies recalcitrant approach to developing standards to help end piracy; Eisner was speaking before a congressional committee at the time.
Jobs wasn't happy – but fought back, demanding that sequels – namely Toy Story 3 – to Pixar's animations be counted as movies under the Disney/Pixar five-year deal. Disney did not meet this demand, and Jobs grew cross.
Pixar is understood to be courting deals from Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox, while Disney executives put a brave face to the end of a partnership that generated in excess of 40 per cent of Disney's revenues last year.