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Harvey sale a Classic

Deal includes library, rights, but not moviemaking unit

The on-again, off-again sale of Harvey Entertainment’s comic-book character library to New York-based entertainment company Classic Media is still back on, but its terms have been adjusted — again.

Classic Media is topped by former Golden Books chief Eric Ellenbogen, with principals including entertainment and finance vet Frank Biondi and movie producer Steve Tisch.

The company agreed Wednesday to buy Harvey’s film and TV library plus rights to characters Casper the Friendly Ghost, Richie Rich and others for $17 million in cash.

Terms reworked

That’s about $1 million more than Classic Media agreed to pay in March. But the deal doesn’t include Harvey’s PM Entertainment moviemaking unit, which remains in the hands of Harvey chief Roger Burlage.

An investment group led by Burlage acquired a 37% controlling stake in Harvey for $17 million in April 1999.

Last August, Classic Media had agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Los Angeles-based Harvey in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $30 million. But that transaction, which at one point would have provided Classic Media a 55% Harvey interest, was canceled in November, following prolonged due diligence and related negotiations to rejigger terms of the deal.

The newly drawn transaction is expected to close soon after a Harvey shareholders meeting set for June 12, officials said.

About a year ago, Classic Media acquired rights to the comic character Mr. Magoo from the estate of longtime owner Henry Saperstein.