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Valentine Gets Muppets for Christmas

Former UPN CEO Dean Valentine's investment group and Europlay Capital
Advisors cut a deal to buy a 49.9 percent stake in The Jim Henson Co., owner of
the Muppets franchise, from ailing German media giant EM.TV.

The Walt Disney Co. and children's-media mogul Haim Saban were among the
parties reportedly vying for Henson after it was put on the block this

Valentine's group and Europlay signed a letter of intent to take the equity
stake, EM.TV said Tuesday. The companies didn't disclose terms of the deal,
which is expected to be finalized next month.

Valentine will bring on Mort Marcus, former chairman of Disney's Miramax TV
& Video unit, and former Artisan Pictures Inc. executive vice president Nick
Van Dyk to head the Henson management team.

"Henson is one of the great global brands in the entertainment world,"
Valentine said in a prepared statement. "We are committed to continuing the
legacy of creativity, humor and humanity that marked everything Jim Henson