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California | IN BRIEF / Southland

2 Firms Win Assets of Golden Books in Auction

August 16, 2001|Reuters

Random House Inc. and Classic Media Inc. said they won a U.S. Bankruptcy Court auction for the assets of children's book publisher Golden Books Family Entertainment Inc. with a joint bid of $84.4 million and assumption of most debt.

With a library of more than 500,000 titles, including books with staple characters like "Pat the Bunny" and "Poky Little Puppy," a vast comic book collection, 3,000 movies, television specials and cartoons, Golden Books is seen as a key asset by the two bidding parties.

The companies said the cash purchase price, plus assumption of most of Golden Books' liabilities, was accepted by the company's debtors, bondholders and unsecured creditors.

In June, DIC Entertainment, a Burbank developer of children's television shows, offered $170 million for Golden Books, including $73 million in cash, $7 million in notes issued by DIC and $90 million in liabilities, including medical benefits. DIC Entertainment later brought HarperCollins Publishers on board and sweetened its bid for Golden Books. HarperCollins is a unit of News Corp.

"Ultimately, the bidding reached a point where it made more sense to bow out," said Andy Heyward, chief executive of DIC. DIC said it will walk away with a $4.5-million to $5-million break-up fee from the deal.

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