Sky TV Founders Buy Firm Back

Dallas-Just 18 months after selling in-flight-programming, video-production and broadcasting company Sky Television, founders Mark Bunting and Tom Hoitsma have completed a deal to buy the company back from ZDTV Inc.

Bunting, Sky Television's CEO, sold the company to ZDTV's former parent, Ziff-Davis Inc., in October for $72 million in cash and earn-out provisions. Terms of the most recent deal were not disclosed.

Z-D sold ZDTV to Microsoft Corp. cofounder Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures Inc. in January for $204.8 million. Vulcan had previously owned part of the company.

Sky Television produces in-flight, cable-TV, corporate-video and Internet-broadcast content primarily within the computer and Internet arenas. The transaction closed June 16.

Sky Television has produced programming for ABC Inc., CBS Corp., NBC and Fox Broadcasting Co. affiliates, as well as CNBC, Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, Fox Net and WAM! America's Kidz Network.

Its shows include Bunting's Window, The Computer Guy and children's series Mark's Web World.

"We have concluded the transfer process, and we are taking Sky Television back to its independent roots," Bunting said in a prepared statement. "The recent financial troubles and subsequent breakup of the Ziff-Davis properties created an opportunity for us to return Sky Television to its entrepreneurial heritage and leverage our position as the pre-eminent video-content producer and distributor of high-tech and dot-com company brands."

Computer-trade-magazine publisher Z-D ran into financial trouble last year, prompting it to initiate a restructuring and shed its non-Internet assets.