Billionaire investor Haim Saban is in talks to buy Muppet maker Jim Henson Co. at a steep discount to what Germany's EM.TV & Merchandising paid for it, people close to the situation said Tuesday.
The two sides are still haggling over the price, but it is broadly in the vicinity of about $100 million, the sources said. EM.TV paid $680 million for Hollywood-based Henson in February 2000.
There may be other suitors for the makers of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and Big Bird, the sources said, but the EM.TV unit has been on the block for more than a year.
Representatives for Munich-based EM.TV and Saban declined to comment.
Saban, who made his fortune with children's figures the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, has bargaining help. Nancy Schultz, who served as Henson's chief financial officer for a short time and who advised Henson when she was with PricewaterhouseCoopers, works for Saban Capital Group Inc.