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EM.TV swaps Odyssey for Crown Media

Courtesy of Hallmark Entertainment Network
July 26, 2000

Crown Media Now Owns 100% of Odyssey Network, Kermit Channel and Hallmark Entertainment Network EM.TV and Crown Media to leverage relationship to create additional programming for Odyssey Network

Crown Media Holdings, Inc. and German media company EM.TV & Merchandising AG announced they have signed comprehensive cooperation agreements, under which EM.TV will acquire approximately 8.2%, or 5.4 million shares, of Crown Media, in exchange for EM.TV’s interests in Odyssey Network and the Kermit Channel. The transaction is valued at approximately $89 million. In addition, the two companies have agreed to create a branded block of programming to air on Crown Media’s US channel, Odyssey Network.

In February of this year, when EM.TV acquired 100% of The Jim Henson Company, EM.TV acquired not only one of the most important programming libraries, including several renowned international family entertainment brands, but also a 22.5% interest in Odyssey Network, a pay TV channel distributed in the US, as well as a 50% stake in the Kermit Channel, a pay TV channel which operates in Asia. With this transaction today, the full integration of these television investments into Crown Media Holdings will create a consoldiated group of international television channels with more than 59 million subscribers worldwide. Crown Media Holdings is comprised of Hallmark Entertainment Network, a channel operating in over 70 countries, Odyssey Channel in the US, and Kermit Channel in the Asian market.

Going forward, EM.TV and Crown Media will create a block of branded family programming to air on Odyssey Network. For this purpose, EM.TV will make available its internationally renowned brands such as Kermit and Junior as well as its comprehensive programming library. Odyssey Network currently reaches some 27 million US households, with a strong increase expected for the coming years. The network has signed long-term agreements with AT&T, Time Warner and DirecTV with a view to securing its long-term presence and appeal.

“EM.TV is one of the first European media companies to make an entry into the US pay TV market. We will leverage our relationship with Crown Media to expand the exposure of our programs and brands in the United States and the rest of the world’s major media markets. EM.TV will benefit significantly from the resulting earnings potential, which will spread from the TV segment to all of our other marketing segments,” said Thomas Haffa, Board Chairman of EM.TV & Merchandising AG.

“We are extremely pleased that EM.TV has agreed to exchange its ownership of these channels for shares of Crown Media,” stated David Evans, President and Chief Executive Officer of Crown Media Holding. “Not only does this transaction simplify the ownership structure of our properties and give us more flexibility regarding the programming and distribution of our channels but it also strengthens our relationship with an important strategic partner and further validates our efforts to build a global, family entertainment network. EM.TV is one of the fastest-growing and most successful media companies in Europe. Their commitment to providing high-quality children’s and family entertainment is a perfect complement to our own business and we plan to leverage their visionary leadership, outstanding programming library, marketing skills, financial resources and international presence to enhance our own position in the global programming business.”

About EM.TV Merchandising AG Established in 1989 by Thomas Haffa, Chairman and CEO, EM.TV & Merchandising AG has developed into a leading international media company. The company is active in the production of children’s and family programs, worldwide distribution of TV rights, and marketing of merchandising rights and major international events. EM.TV is the world market leader in family and children’s programming and the European market leader in merchandising. The portfolio of EM.TV comprises approximately 28,500 half-hour episodes, which are marketed nationally and internationally under the brand Junior. About Crown Media Holdings, Inc. Crown Media Holdings, Inc. owns and operates pay television channels dedicated to high quality family programming. The Company currently operates and distributes three cable channels: Hallmark Entertainment Network in over 70 international markets, the Odyssey Network in the United States and the Kermit Channel in Asia. Crown Media has more than 59 million subscribers worldwide.


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