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Disney to Acquire Muppets from Jim Henson Co.

Tue Feb 17, 5:58 PM ET

 

NEW YORK -- Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS - News) reached a deal with Jim Henson Co. to acquire "Muppets" and "Bear in the Big Blue House" properties.

 

 

Terms of the deal, announced late Tuesday, weren't disclosed. The agreement includes all Muppets assets, including the Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and Animal characters, the Muppets film and television library, as well as all the "Bear in the Big Blue House" assets.

 

 

The transaction doesn't include the "Sesame Street" characters, such as Big Bird and Elmo, which are separately owned by Sesame Workshop.

 

 

Brian Henson, who with his sister Lisa is co-chairperson and co-chief executive of Jim Henson Co., said, "This new and very important relationship will enable our two companies to combine our respective talents and resources in ways that will fully realize the tremendous potential of the Muppet and Bear franchises. (Disney Chairman and Chief Executive) Michael Eisner's long-standing passion and respect for the Muppets gives me and my family even more confidence in Disney as a partner."

 

 

Lisa Henson said, "In the months before his death in 1990, my father Jim Henson pursued extensive discussions with the Walt Disney Co. based on his strong belief that Disney would be a perfect home for the Muppets. As such, the deal we announced today is the realization of my father's dream ... My brothers and sisters -- Brian, Cheryl, John, Heather -- and I are so proud to have the Muppets living under the same roof as Walt Disney's own timeless characters. We could not possibly be more pleased."

 

 

Disney said in a statement that it also expects to expand and enhance the global licensing and home-video initiatives based on this new production for the Classic Muppets, the infant/preschool property Muppet Babies, and Bear in the Big Blue House.

 

 

"We are honored that the Henson family has agreed to pass on to us the stewardship of these cherished assets. We are also pleased that this transaction puts us in a position to work with the Henson company on future projects," said Mr. Eisner.

 

 

Jim Henson Co., which was purchased by the Henson family in July 2003 from the German media company EM.TV, will retain all other assets of the company including Jim Henson's Creature Shop and ownership and rights to all other characters and entertainment properties in Jim Henson Co.'s extensive film and television library.

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