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Harvey taps consultant to eye investment bids

Houlihan to court suitors, Lions Gate amongst them

HOLLYWOOD — Harvey Entertainment Co., speculated to be a takeover target of Lions Gate Entertainment, said Tuesday that it has hired a strategic consultant to review what it called informal investment offers.

Officials declined to comment on possible suitors, but sources suggested at least four companies, including Canadian producer Lions Gate, want to place offers expected ranging from buyout bids to expressions of interest in minority stakes. Harvey said Houlihan Valuation Advisers will evaluate proposals to the company, which licenses animated characters for filmed entertainment.

Montgomery out

In April 1999, former Live Entertainment chairman Roger Burlage and a group of investors bought a controlling stake in Harvey for $17 million. Though Harvey founder Jeffrey Montgomery also made a buyout offer in 1999, a well-placed source said he is not among the current suitors.

Harvey shares, which have fallen 70% over the past several months from a 52-week high of $7.13, closed up 13¢ at $2.25 Tuesday.

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