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BRIEFCASE DISNEY-PIXAR DEAL CALLED `UNLIKELY'.

Byline: - Staff and wire services

NEW YORK - Robert Iger, president and chief operating officer of The Walt Disney Co., said it is ``unlikely'' Disney will strike a new distribution deal with Pixar Animation Studios, according to a report on CNBC.

Earlier this year, Pixar broke off talks with Disney on extending their partnership after the two couldn't agree on new terms that would be more favorable to Pixar.

Pixar has since met with other studios and says it has plenty of time to strike a new deal.

Disney has distributed such Pixar films as ``Toy Story,'' ``Monsters, Inc.'' and last year's big hit, ``Finding Nemo.''

Pixar's last film under the distribution deal with Disney is ``Cars,'' which will be delivered in 2005.

Pixar, based in Emervyville, Calif., had revenue of $262.5 million for the fiscal year ended Jan. 3.

Mushroom plant says it will close

VENTURA - Citing a poor market, PictSweet Mushroom Farm gave its more than 300 employees two months notice that growing operations would end by December.

The company said Tuesday that production could continue if the market improves or if another company buys or leases the facility. PictSweet cited ``adverse market conditions'' as a reason for the closure.

``The severe economic factors which now confront the Ventura operation require PictSweet to make this difficult decision,'' the company said.

Employees didn't seem concerned, noting the operation has switched hands many times and the work always continues.

``I came here in 1978, and since then they have been telling us they were going to close four times. This is the fifth,'' Manuel Salomon said as he finished his shift picking mushrooms. ``They always threaten to close, but they never do.''

Earlier this year, PictSweet ended a 17-year dispute with the United Food Workers Union, which orchestrated a 3 1/2-year boycott of PictSweet products.

It'll be Clusty vs. Google soon

SAN FRANCISCO - Online search engine upstart Vivisimo Inc. is setting out to convince the masses that Google Inc.'s vaunted technology isn't the most efficient way to find things on the Internet.

The little-known Pittsburgh company is taking aim at Google and other industry leaders like Yahoo! Inc. with a new search engine called Clusty.com, scheduled to debut today after four years of fine tuning.

The search engine's name refers to the clustering technology that Vivisimo has refined to sort search results into different categories related to the initial search request.

AIG is the target of Justice inquiry

NEW YORK - American International Group Inc., one of the world's largest insurance companies, is the target of a probe by the Department of Justice into possible securities violations.

The New York-based company Wednesday said it believes the department is looking into a matter also under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Orbitz shares soar with news of sale

CHICAGO - Orbitz Inc.'s shares surged nearly 31 percent Wednesday on news that Cendant Corp., the owner of the CheapTickets, Days Inn, Avis and Budget brands, had agreed to pay $1.25 billion to acquire the third-largest online travel agency.

Cendant, a hotel franchisor and real estate service company, said the deal would expand its Internet presence in the growing online travel booking market. Under the terms of the agreement, Cendant will pay $27.50 in cash for each share of Orbitz stock. Both companies' boards have agreed to the transaction, but it is still subject to regulatory approval.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 30, 2004
Words:569
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