Saturday, April 16, 2005

Bids on HIT Point to Buy Out.

HIT Entertainment is considering buy-out offers due to financial issues in their company. HIT Entertainment is the company that currently holds the distribution and marketing rights to the Jim Henson Family Showcase programming (including Fraggle Rock, Mother Goose Stories, Jim Henson's Animal Show, The Secret Life of Toys, Dog City, Emmet Otter's Jug-band Christmas, and many more). HIT retains the rights until April 2009; at that point contracts with Henson would need to be filed if they desire to continue the deal. I have been told that all current DVD and merchandise plans should not be affected if any deals take place. After a deal there will still be work, focus and support of the Henson properties by the acquiring owner. In fact many think that a new company may be able to back the Henson programming with even more support, resources, and energy than HIT has been able to in the past year. HIT has been suffering since late August after it issued a profit warning when their net profit dropped 57%.

Among the companies considering the idea of purchasing HIT are Classic Media, and Lions Gate Entertainment. These are all well established companies with a lot of resources and knowledge in producing quality products. Nothing official has been announced and no deals have been made yet. Hopefully the Henson properties don't burred under HIT's other popular properties (Barney, Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, The Wiggles, and more). If any deals do take place, I'll be here to tell you all the details, and what it all means to the future of the Henson properties. Although their may be a hick-up in output of stuff while a new company adjusts to their newly aquired company, Henson fans should not worry; this deal should not hurt the Family Showcase programming – if anything it will be helping them get more resources, support, attention, and care. I'll keep you all posted as this story unfolds.


Scott said...

Wasn't HIT just purchased by Apax?

Greg said...

The Apax deal was more of an investment than an ownership buyout. Apax Partners (a private equity firm) bought the majority of HIT's shares of stock. Apax is now an invester (and technical owner) of HIT. Like any investor, they benefit from HIT's action and have a large amount of capital invested in the company (which is a big help to HIT). Apax is not doing much except dealing with money.

The buyout offers being considered now are from other media companies that are interested in taking HIT and adding it to their catalog and resources. This is more like the Muppet buy out by Disney (except HIT would sell everything they have, not just 1 or 2 franchises). This is more than just getting more financial support, this is getting new leadership and access to new resources. Remember that HIT only has distribution rights to the Henson library and anyone who buys HIT would also only get distribution rights (that would expire in 2009 – unless they extend them with Henson).

Anonymous said...

How do I convince HIT to release "Dog City - The Movie" for Region 1? Why have they released it in the UK but not the US?