Warner, News Corp, Viacom vie for Hallmark US

MUMBAI: Crown Media, which owns and operates Hallmark US has said that it has been approached by several parties regarding the acquisition of Hallmark.

Earlier this year in March Crown Media had sold the international arm of Hallmark for $ 242 million to a group of investors comprised of Providence Equity Partners, 3i and UK television executive David Elstein.

Parties said to be interested in buying Hallmark Channel are News Corp, Viacom, Time Warner Comcast and Scripps Networks.

The News Corp bid was confirmed by News Corp president Peter Chernin last week. Media reports further indicate that Disney is not interested in the acquisition.

Hallmark Channel's ad revenue was up 37 per cent to $33.6 million. The network also upped its subscriber fee revenue by 90 per cent year-over-year, to $4.6 million.

The bids so far for Hallmark and its 71 million subscribers have ranged from $1.65 billion to $1.8 billion, which would also cover $886 million in debt. That means those offers would assign a value of only about $1 billion to the Hallmark network itself, a price some network insiders think is too low.

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