I have read bits and pieces of a story explaining how Steve Jobs came to acquire what is now Pixar from George Lucas and ILM (Industrial Light and Magic), but today I read a story on AppleMatters.com that summed everything up very succinctly.
The story explains that Lucas was in need of cash for a divorce settlement. Apparently Lucas put a portion of ILM’s production system up for sale for $30 million. Jobs thought the price was too high, and they finally settled on $10 million to close the deal. Since that day, February 3, 1986, Jobs had control over what is now known as Pixar.
On January 24, 2006, Disney acquired Pixar. At that point Jobs held 51% of Pixar’s stock. With Disney buying Pixar for $7.4 billion, it is safe to say that Jobs is satisfied with the return on his investment. The deal landed Jobs on the board of Disney and reportedly made him over $2 billion in the process.
Checkout the story at AppleMatters.com for more information. It was a side of the story I had never heard. I can only imagine what other stories are waiting in the wings should Jobs ever decide to publish his autobiography.