A management buy-out in Muppetville...

THOMAS HAFFA bought The Jim Henson Company, owner of The Muppet Show, last year for $680m. The German wheeler dealer also bought into Formula 1, via a shareholding in SLEC, the company which owns the commercial rights to Grand Prix racing. The purchases were a disaster and EM.TV's value plummeted. The Kirch company arrived to help out Haffa and acquired not only blocking vote, but also a chunk of the business and an option to buy the rest. Now EM.TV is planning to rid itself of The Muppets and is looking for a buyer. The word on Wall Street is that it will be sold for $200m and may go to a management buy-out led by chief executive Charles Rivkin with backing from investment banks. EM.TV is also expected to eventually part with its remaining shares in SLEC which will give Kirch more shares in the business. And take Haffa out of the F1 business once and for all.

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