Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday completed its acquisition of key Jim Henson Co. properties the Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House, which will operate as part of the Mouse House’s Consumer Products division.
Chris Curtin, Disney synergy chief and CEO Michael Eisner’s special assistant, has been named VP and general manager of the Muppets and Bear business and will have day-to-day oversight of operations of the unit.
Price was not disclosed for the acquisition, though sources had indicated total investment was well south of $100 million.
Disney has grand plans for the two marquee properties and said it is considering plans for future live-action theatrical releases, stage productions and computer-generated 3-D animation projects plus attractions and parades at Disney’s theme parks.
Company highlighted it has already been integrating the characters into the Disney family, noting Kermit and Miss Piggy made their Disney debut in ABC’s “The Nick and Jessica Variety Show.”
Disney earlier this year agreed to acquire all Muppets assets and character rights, the Muppet film-TV library, worldwide distribution and licensing rights and all associated copyrights and trademarks.
Deal also covers the Bear in the Big Blue House characters, TV library, copyrights and trademarks.
Henson and Disney also have non-exclusive production and consulting agreements whereby Henson would develop new programming featuring the Muppets and Big Blue House characters for Disney.