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Latest Newswire Update on Henson Co.

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by radionate, May 22, 2002.

  1. radionate

    radionate Well-Known Member

    Hey Guys,

    This was on the wire this morning from Variety.

    HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - The lingering auction of children's programming giant Jim Henson Co., home of Kermit and Miss Piggy, appears finally to be heading into the home stretch.

    Things are expected to heat up just after the upcoming U.S. Memorial Day weekend, with new bids expected from studio parents and other suitors. A management buyout proposal also is in the mix.

    Current owner EM.TV, the financially beleaguered German media group, first disclosed its intent to sell the well-known L.A.-based Henson unit in March 2001. EM.TV hired blue-chip investment firm Allen & Co. to conduct an auction, a process initially expected to last only a few months.

    But various circumstances --including Sept. 11 market disruptions -- have prolonged the process interminably. Robust TV production continues on the company's historic lot in Hollywood, despite an understandable anxiety spreading among Henson troops eager to see the process reach its conclusion.

    At least a half-dozen companies were conducting due diligence recently in a document room set up by those conducting the auction. Suitors are believed to include Walt Disney Co., Viacom Inc. and AOL Time Warner Inc., as well as at least a couple of smaller, European-based companies.

    Henson CEO Charles Rivkin is known to be mulling his own buyout offer for the company, but it's expected that bid would gel only after outside offers are finalized. Rivkin declined comment.

    The CEO's best shot at succeeding with a management-led buyout lies in the possibility that no other bidder will offer north of $175 million -- believed to represent the current minimum offer EM.TV would consider accepting. There was a time when observers felt the company could fetch as much as $250 million, but no longer.

    "The market in general for intellectual property is not what it was a year ago," one industryite said recently.

    EM.TV's best chance at getting a good price for Henson appears to hinge on Allen & Co.'s success in getting suitors to construct bids based less upon current cash flow and more on future potential for the Henson brand.
  2. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    Great, I e-mailed this to Phil for nuttin'! :)

    Anyway, FINALLY some news. Hopefully we'll hear more within the next couple of weeks.
  3. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for posting this. You beat me to it.

    A variety of news sources are picking this story up.
  4. radionate

    radionate Well-Known Member

    Sorry Phil

    Sorry Phil,

    Hope I didn't step on any toes. I watch the news wires religiously, and knew that this hadn't been posted on here yet! Old journalism and broadcasting habits die hard I guess. You're always trying to beat the other guy to the story!

    (here's where a boxing glove on a retractable wire would shoot out, a la Roger Rabbit, and smack me upside the head!!)

    This has been a Muppet News Flash
  5. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member


    There's nothing to be sorry about. Thanks for posting the article!

    What I find really interesting about this report is the suitor that isn't mentioned. There were strong rumors going around in the company (in February and March) that a company sale to Fox might be coming down in April. I don't know yet if Fox is totally out of the bidding or if they are still in the mix. But Fox's interest was so serious that some company restructuring was going on, and some thought this was a direct result of the anticipated purchase by Fox.
  6. EmmyMik

    EmmyMik Well-Known Member

    Here's my offer...

    I'll bid a pack of gum, 51 cents, pocket lint, a penny that I put on a railroad track and was smooshed by a train, the cap from my favorite pen, my younger brother, and an orange marker...

    Do you think that's too much?
  7. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    Pardon me, but who said ANYTHING about Fox (aka News Corp.)? I knew Phil was holding out on us. :)

    Anyway, what does this mean? Is there gonna be an auction next week and a sale after that?
  8. Crazy Harry

    Crazy Harry Well-Known Member

    I'll bid $3, my old Eathworm Jim action figure, this fly I just smooshed, a screwdriver, my sister's cat and this thing an the floor. What is that?
  9. Tera

    Tera Well-Known Member

    Does anybody know anything more about the possibilities of the Muppets being bought by the employees?
    I remember hearing a few hushed, reverant sentences about this at Muppetfest, but don't know anything else.
  10. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    The article said the best chance of a management LBO by Rivkin is if companies offer under $175 million? Boy, it doesn't look good for him, then.
  11. radionate

    radionate Well-Known Member

    Now I'm not a business person, but in all honesty, would this be a sound business decision? I know we are all sentimental, and would love to see this happen, but would it be a SOUND decision for the future of the company? Would they be able to market, distribute, and still churn out quality entertaining products? With out an umbrella to help them out financially, I'd fear that one of two Muppets from Space or Aliens in the Family could sink them under for good.

    Now, let me state I'm not a business major, and I haven't successfully balanced my checkbook for years! So these are just thoughts to ponder upon.
  12. towels

    towels Well-Known Member

    I just wanted to say how nice it is to be able to add a new word to my vocabulary- industryite
  13. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, that word caught my attention as well. :)
  14. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member


    Actually I don't think theres much new in this press report - actually there are a number of errors, (not least about robust TV production continuing on the Henson lot) so i'm thinking that a journalist has just got the wink that they had this document meeting with all the interested parties and he's wrote a story around that info.

    I had heard previously that News Corp were an interested bidder, but had no idea that it had gone so far as company restructuring. Thanks for the info Phil - thats quite a scoop for a Muppet site, shame you couldn't have made more of it when you found out. The european companies are apparently HIT Entertainment, Cosgrove Hall, (i've heard that from 2 sources now and others here have told me the same) and another German company similar to EMTV.

    As i think has been said before, i'd expect EMTV to hang onto them a bit longer while the money is coming in - but it all shows that what we have seen lately (TV appearances, deals, Muppetfest, Merchandise) has been done for a reason, and EMTV are cleverly using the Muppets 25th anniversary year as a tool to sell them.

    It's quite true that after a meeting like that, things would be 'hotting up' but it doesn't mean an imminent sale. Firstly, if new bids are expected - i'd be guessing that they are still waiting for bids to come in from companies who were actually at the document meeting, which makes you think that it was VERY recent. If thats the case, and if other sales of this kind are anything to go by, theres usually at least a 3 month period between this and any sale being completed.
  15. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    ...as long is it aint the rat gloves!

    WOW! Fox, viacom, aol/tw...so long as the fink doesnt get his gloves on it! Personally, Im hoping for either Fox or aol/tw(viacom has the snorefest channel cbs, and eMpTyV) I know aol/tw is looney tunes, but still! Either way...this is going to be quite an interesting buy race!


    *whose mad he lost his wallet and wasnt able to go to e3 at the last minute*
  16. Bean Bunny

    Bean Bunny Well-Known Member


    Go Disney Go! :D
  17. Jessie

    Jessie Well-Known Member


    Is Disney still in the race? I am kind of hoping AOL Time Warner doesn't get Henson...I know everyone dislikes Disney taking up Henson, but they get my vote...maybe we will see more quality Henson stuff in the future if they do...
  18. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    Luke, what is Cosgrove Hall?

    And what exactly is a "document meeting?"
  19. Bean Bunny

    Bean Bunny Well-Known Member


    Disney is indeed still in the running for Henson well as almost all of the other major studios like Fox, AOL-Time Warner, and Viacom.

    I hope Disney get them. I want Muppet At Walt Disney World on DVD.
  20. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member


    >>>I hope Disney get them. I want Muppet At Walt Disney World on DVD<<<

    Oh you didnt read the new news on toughpigs? Yeah, under a special licence agreement, this will be among many things featured on a special Muppet Rarities dvd headng this fall...I think sex and violence, Valentines special, and Tales of the Tinkerdee
    will be on it.



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