EM.TV to sell off The Muppets

EM.TV is to sell the Jim Henson Company, which owns The Muppet characters, in an effort to improve the liquidity of the company. The firm, which is effectively controlled by Leo Kirch, controls the promotional rights to the Formula 1 World Championship but in recent months has struggled to survive because of a massive debt load resulting from the purchase of the F1 rights and The Muppets. EM.TV paid a billion dollars for the TV rights to F1 and $680m for the Henson Company.

It is thought that both Walt Disney and Viacom are interested in acquiring The Muppets but neither is going to spend the same kind of money that EM.TV boss Thomas Haffa paid. Haffa recently agreed to sell EM.TV's share in F1 to Kirch for $550m, just over half what he paid less than a year earlier.

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