U.S. group gets Odyssey, Kermit Channel
BERLIN — U.S. broadcasting group Crown Media has assumed complete control of U.S. pay channel the Odyssey Network and Asian web the Kermit Channel as part of a wide-reaching agreement with German kidvidder EM.TV & Merchandising.In return for an 8.2% stake in Crown Media, EM.TV has exchanged its 22.5% stake in Odyssey and a 50% stake in the Kermit Channel acquired as part of its takeover earlier this year of the Jim Henson Co. Crown Media held the remaining stakes in the channels. Global vision Deal is in line with EM.TV’s efforts to place its programming blocks around the globe. The launch of an EM.TV programming block on the Odyssey Network via EM.TV’s Junior or Kermit brand is planned. “EM.TV has become the first European media company to place a block of programming on a U.S. pay TV channel,” said EM.TV’s chairman Thomas Haffa. “For our company, the acquisition of the remaining shares from EM.TV allows for a simpler structure of the shareholders which allows for more flexibility in the programming and marketing of our structure,” said Crown Media’s president and chairman David Evans.