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Disney's Eisner: Muppets' price tag "not realistic"

EM.TV wants to complete sale by Spring 2002

Courtesy of the Associated Press
December 20, 2001

If Walt Disney chairman Michael Eisner has his way, Kermit the Frog will be joining the cast at the Magic Kingdom.

But Eisner told the German newsmagazine Focus in an interview released Thursday that The Jim Henson Co., maker of the Muppet Show and Sesame Street, is up for sale at a price that "is not realistic."

Eisner isn't in talks with the German firm EM.TV, which bought The Jim Henson Co., for $680 million in February 2000. "But you can tell them they can give me a call," Focus quoted him as saying.

EM.TV has not publicly named a price, but a spokeswoman said Thursday they were in talks with "a number of possible interested parties" and hoped to conclude a deal by next spring. The investment bank Allen & Co., was handling initial contacts and had been in touch with Disney, spokeswoman Celia Purrnhagen said.

EM.TV purchased The Jim Henson Co. as part of an expansion drive that included the acquisition of half of Formula One motor racing a month later.

Shares in the Munich-based company subsequently collapsed as losses and debt mounted, forcing a bailout by the Kirch Group and the sale of most of its Formula One stake.

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Fan site Muppet Central created by Phillip Chapman. Updates by Muppet Central Staff. All Muppets, Bear
characters are copyright of The Muppets Studio. Sesame Street characters are copyright of Sesame Workshop.
Fraggle Rock, Creature Shop and similar likenesses are copyright of The Jim Henson Company.