Eisner Nears Muppet Rescue

Luke

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EISNER NEARS MUPPET RESCUE

By Paul Tharp

May 5, 2003 -- After a 13-year odyssey to capture Kermit the Frog, Michael Eisner might be ready to cuff him as early as this week.

The Walt Disney chairman is said to be closer to working out a deal to buy the popular Muppets characters for $100 million - $70 million cash and $30 million in assumed debt.

But other buyers are also said to be involved in the talks, and Eisner may not get the deal due to certain terms he hasn't ironed out yet, sources said.

The German owner of Hollywood-based Jim Henson Co. - founded by the late puppeteer - has been trying to sell the company for two years with no takers.

Investment bank Allen & Co., which has recently shopped Henson for as much as $200 million, had no comment on an impending sale. Disney declined comment.

Eisner tried in 1990 to buy the Muppets to expand Disney's kingdom, but he's dragged his feet in this recent effort to buy Henson, said sources familiar with the talks.

So Allen & Co. pulled in at least four other buyers in recent months - agreeing to pay as much as $2 million for their legal fees if they tossed in new bids to put a fire under Eisner.

Insiders say Eisner has been obsessed with the Henson puppets, and was close to buying the lot from Henson himself for $150 million in 1990.

But the deal unraveled after Henson died unexpectedly, and his heirs got into a nasty court fight against Disney, which settled their lawsuit.

"Eisner's doing this project himself; it's a legacy thing, closure for a deal that went bad," said a source familiar with the deal. "He's purging himself of Jim Henson's ghosts."
 

Drtooth

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Let's hope something happens and soon... let's not jerk us around again... and stop making them lame cheapquals, Mr. Eisner!
 

Luke

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Smells to me like one of the following :-

1) The deal is almost sewn up and it's near enough in the bag that Disney gets them. Aquisitions usually get announced at the end of business on a Friday so that the shareholders have time to digest the news before the markets open on Monday.

2) This is a leaked story and the 'sources' are Allen & Co. Eisner is stalling yet again and they have this deadline of 30th May to reach a deal. Like the idea of encouraging other bidders by paying the legal costs planting a story like this could hurry up Disney if they thought the idea being put around that the sale was imminent might lead to another bidder coming in and snatching the company from under their nose.

It's quite encouraging the rumored figure has raised to 100 million. I guess it could mean that Eisner may agree to buy the entire company seeing as the extra 30 million is just in debt. I would guess if the article is correct that whats actually included in the deal is whats being argued over but it could happen, we'll see...
 

Drtooth

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HECK! They sold the ANgels for 150 million (or something) why not use that money?
 

Muppets1985

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AAAHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yessssssssssss!! Ha ha ha ha ha LOL LOL LOL, Yes Get Mickey ah huh ah huh!!! :big_grin: :big_grin: :smile: :stick_out_tongue: :wink:
 

Sir Didymus

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Great News! It's nice that Disney is getting them, and hopefully they will do good things with The Muppets. But, If Disney ever does anything STUPID and has The Muppet Characters communicating with Mickey and the gang, I will walk away, and shut the door behind me.


Jake
 

Cantus Rock

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What a horribly biased article.

This is such a perfect example of the media's slant on news. Lord, whether you think this way or not, at least do a public service and present the facts without all the tarnishing remarks laced there within.

-Matt
 

frogboy4

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I liked the article up until the language accused Henson's heirs of being nasty. I hope that was just poor wording. However, I agree with Luke. It's an article planted with the intention of coaxing Eisner along. I like how the article closes, but do not like the accusation of Henson’s greed. Sure, the guys can be color blind (about their characters) but they certainly aren’t h*llraisers.:concern:
 
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