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EM.TV Moves Ahead With Restructuring Plan

Troubled German media company EM.TVs new CEO Werner Klatten is close to closing the previously announced purchase of a 25.1% stake (approximately 36.2 million shares) in the company from founder and former president Thomas Haffa. Klatten is working with a venture capital firm to secure financing for the deal, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of January 2002. The acquisition is currently estimated at US$60 million. EM.TV has been battling shareholder lawsuits and accusations against former CEO Haffa and his brother Florian, former chief financial officer, for allegedly making false statements and manipulating the company's share price. In regards to the status of the company, Klatten recently stated, "After several months work as chief executive officer, I continue to be completely convinced of EM.TV & Merchandising AGs restructuring capacity and future prospects. This fact is underlined by my personal commitment, which will take place as planned. Any speculation to the contrary has no basis whatsoever." In other news, rumors persist that Disney is the front-runner to purchase the Jim Henson Co. from EM.TV. In June 2001, EM.TV hired Wall Street investment firm Allen & Co. to sell the Henson Co. just a year after they had purchased it from heirs of founder Jim Henson. In a recent interview with German magazine FOCUS, Disney chairman Michael Eisner said he is interested in the Henson Co. content but claims the price is too high.