German EM.TV Acquires The Muppets

Munich-based EM.TV & Merchandising has acquired the Jim Henson Co. in a

cash and stock transaction valued at US$680 million. The German company now

owns the rights to the Muppets and Sesame Street characters. The purchase

gives EM.TV "some of the most powerful and enduring kids and family brands

worldwide and. . . access to the world's biggest and most important media

market," said Thomas Haffa, EM.TV CEO. "In addition, our investment in

Henson will give us a position in cable networks, which will open up new

distribution channels for our own brands." EM.TV currently supplies 330

hours of programming to Disney Channel Germany; offers classic Warner Bros.

and Hanna-Barbera toons in a Saturday morning program called Junior.TV, and

holds the German rights to THE SIMPSONS. Former president and CEO of Jim

Henson Co., Brian Henson, will remain as a chairman. "I will be able to

devote my energies to my first love, which is driving the creative and

technological forces of the company," Henson explained. Charlie Rinkin, the

current COO of Jim Henson, will assume the role of CEO. This deal comes on

the heals of Jim Henson Co.'s purchase of the famed Charlie Chaplin Studios

in Hollywood, California as their new headquarters.

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