This image was lost some time after publication.

We've all been waiting since October for Apple/Pixar's Steve Jobs and Disney's Robert Iger to finally escalate the coy eyelash-batting and game of footsie the two moguls publicly engaged in while presenting their iPod content partnership. Now, with rumors of a new deal between the companies, Pixar's stock price has swelled, leaving us all in breathless anticipation for the tongue-wrestling sure to accompany an official announcement about a studio sale (or some other union). Unfortunately, analysts have to spoil the prurient fun of a hypothetical consummation by asking the "big questions" about whether or not the whole thing is even a good idea. From the LAT:

"To the extent that Disney will pay $7 billion or more, it seems like an extremely large sum of money given that it already controls the sequel rights and existing films that Pixar created," independent media analyst Richard Greenfield said.

However, Greenfield added, much hinges on how confident Disney is in its upcoming slate of animated films.

"If you're scared that these films are going to be flops," Greenfield said, "maybe it's the right strategic decision."

No one can say for sure how Pixar-less sequels to The Incredibles or Toy Story might turn out, but if Disney's looking for an excuse to leap into Jobs' outstretched arms for animation-slate salvation, it should take a good, hard look at some mocked-up posters featuring Home on the Range and Treasure Planet's titles trailing Roman numerals.