May 7, 2003
Pennies from Henson
The Henson family buys back the Henson Company
Business Wire -- May 7, 2003
reprinted entirely without permission
HOLLYWOOD, CA -- Brian Henson, son of the late Jim Henson, today announced that he, his sisters Lisa, Cheryl and Heather, and his brother, John, have signed a definitive agreement to acquire The Jim Henson Company from EM.TV & Merchandising AG for $78 million in cash.
Upon completion of the transaction, all five family members will serve on the company's board of directors, and Brian and Lisa Henson will be actively involved in the company's management.
Brian Henson said, "I am absolutely thrilled that Lisa, Cheryl, John, Heather and I will acquire the company our father founded some 45 years ago. This has been a very challenging period for The Jim Henson Company. But the company has achieved some great things over the past few years, continues to have great assets and, we firmly believe, has great potential. Our commitment, as the Jim Henson Company's new owners and as Jim Henson's children, is to preserve and enhance those assets, fully realize that potential, and thereby honor our father's legacy.
"In the months and years ahead, we will be actively exploring new and expanded strategic relationships to help us continue to carry out the company's mission: making the world a better place by inspiring people to celebrate life," Mr Henson concluded.
Assets of The Jim Henson Company to be acquired in the transaction announced today include: The Muppets, The Muppet Babies, The Fraggles, The Hoobs, Farscape, and Bear in the Big Blue House. The company's principal operations include: Henson Television, Jim Henson Pictures, Jim Henson Interactive, Jim Henson Home Entertainment, the Henson Recording Studio, and Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
Assets that were part of The Jim Henson Company at the time of its acquisition by EM.TV & Merchandising in March 2000, and that EM.TV subsequently sold, include: the Sesame Street characters; and the company's interests in the Odyssey, Noggin and Kermit cable channels.
Completion of the transaction, which is subject to customary US and international regulatory and other approvals, is expected to occur in eight to ten weeks.
The following memo/press release was written by Henson CEO Charlie Rivkin, e-mailed to Henson employees, and posted on Henson.com:
To: Everyone at JHC
Date: May 7, 2003
Re: "Life's Like a Movie, Write Your Own Ending"
I am thrilled to announce that Brian, Cheryl, Heather, John and Lisa Henson have concluded a deal to repurchase the Henson Company! A summary of the transaction and some comments on its significance appear in the attached news release [ excerpted above ]. This announcement is a wonderful and quite extraordinary ending for what has been a tumultuous three-year period.
Over the years, the company's extraordinary team of performers, producers, writers, and artists has fought an uphill battle against what has seemed at times overwhelming odds. Despite those odds, together we've managed to create some absolutely brilliant productions and products, and made a difference in people's lives. What we've produced -- in spite of everything, including the turmoil at our parent company, and the challenges facing every independent production company in today's entertainment environment -- has been achieved with integrity, creativity, and a respect for our audience and our history.
I think we can all feel proud of what we have accomplished together. And I think that those of us who have devoted much, or all, of our working lives to this company and its wonderful characters and productions should take pride and comfort in knowing that all of our great work will once again be in Henson hands.
Over the next few weeks, I will be meeting with Brian and Lisa to discuss their vision for the new JHC and how it will be structured. I'll be in touch with each of you individually once these decisions have been finalized.
Like many of you, I had the privilege of working closely with Jim Henson, and like many of you, I know how pleased Jim would be to hear this wonderful news. As we finally end this long, sometimes painful, but ultimately happy chapter of the Muppet story, I want to thank every one of you for believing in the dream and for all you have done to make this very special company what it has been, what it is, and what it will be.
Thanks to Mar Quinn
for keeping everybody at the Tough Pigs Forum
updated with the news!