The CEO of the Jim Henson Company, creators of the Muppets, is planning an MBO to take the company out of German media group EM.TV. The Jim Henson Company is said to be worth between $200m and $250m.
Sources cited by the Financial Times said Charles Rivkin is asking around US private equity firms for financial backing. Rivkin is apparently unhappy with EM.TV for not being clear about what it wants to do with Henson.
However, some think it improbable he will be able to raise the necessary money, and that Henson is more likely to be sold, possibly to Disney or Viacom.
Marion Moorman, spokeswoman for EM.TV, said the media company was indeed in talks with Rivkin. “We are in discussions with the management about an MBO,” she said. “We are also considering a strategic partnership or the complete or part sale of Henson. We have received interest from all over the world.”
EM.TV bought Henson for $680m in cash and equity in February last year. Months later, EM.TV sold the rights to the Sesame Street characters to the Sesame Workshop for $180m in order to reduce debt. It also wrote down Henson’s value by about $324m, citing market conditions.