Terms of the out-of-court deal, announced this morning, were not disclosed. The spinmeisters, however, were out in force.
"I am glad that we were able to come to an acceptable settlement," Disney chairman Michael Eisner said in a statement.
Offered Katzenberg, Eisner's former No. 1: "I'm very pleased that we were able to finally resolve this matter..." He went on to thank the legal team that helped drop the Happiest Place on Earth a couple of notches on the satisfaction scale.
If these quotes sound awfully familiar, it's because this is the second time since 1997 that Disney and Katzenberg have talked about making nice and moving ahead.
Katzenberg sued the Magic Kingdom in 1996. The honcho, who quit Disney in 1994, claimed he was owed at least $250 million in bonuses for helping turn around its once-moribund film division in the 1980s and 1990s.
In November 1997, the two sides settled and agreed to go to arbitration to determine exactly how much Katzenberg was due.
The second phase of the lawsuit battle began in earnest this past April. If possible, it was more bitter than the first go-round, with Eisner embarrassed by testimony that had the Disney chief talking about his hatred for "that little midget," aka the 5-foot, 4-inch Katzenberg.
In May, a judge ruled that Disney did indeed breach its contract with "that little midget"--and did indeed owe the man 2 percent of film and merchandise profits earned during his studio tenure. While Katzenberg originally estimated that sum at $250 million, his number-crunching lawyers recently put the figure at anywhere between $342 mil and $580 mil.
Enough apparently was enough. Said Eisner today: "...The time has come to put this matter behind us and to focus on our new business initiatives."