Crown Reportedly in Talks to Sell International Operations

Aug 5, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Crown Media Holdings, the company that owns the Hallmark Channel, is reportedly in talks to sell its international operations to a British investment group led by David Elstein, the former CEO of Britain’s Channel 5, for around $300 million.

The Elstein-led team — which includes private-equity firms 3i Group and Providence Equity Partners — is holding discussions about buying all of the international operations of Crown Media, according to news service Reuters. Mr. Elstein is the only suitor reportedly interested in all of Crown Media’s overseas businesses.

Other potential buyers have been interested only in pieces of the international operation. Those suitors include Time Warner’s HBO unit, which is interested in the Latin American operations and the international rights to its 700-title library, and Liberty Media, which has expressed a desire for the non-United Kingdom European assets. News Corp.’s BSkyB at one point was interested in the British assets, but reportedly has yet to make an offer.

Reuters also said Crown is trying to convince Sony to submit an offer, but the Japanese conglomerate has had its hands full with its languishing takeover bid for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Crown announced earlier this year that it wanted to sell its international assets — which include channels in 122 countries — and focus on its channel in the United States, which reaches about 59 million cable subscribers.