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Crown Media, owner of Hallmark Channel, sells international business

26-February-2005
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Crown Media, owner of Hallmark Channel, sells international business

Crown Media Holdings, Inc., owner and operator of Hallmark Channel, has entered into an agreement for the sale of its international business to a group of investors comprising Providence Equity Partners, a private investment firm, 3i, specialising in private equity and venture capital, and UK-based television executive David Elstein.

The sale includes the international versions of the Hallmark Channel distributed outside the United States to 152 countries and approximately 60 million subscribers, international rights to over 580 titles in the Crown Media library and the broadcast facility based in Denver, Colorado, which will continue to distribute the channels throughout the world. The investor group will employ workers of the international business as well as the broadcast facility.

Proceeds from the transaction will be used by Crown Media to reduce outstanding indebtedness under its bank credit facility, for the repayment of certain inter-company receivables and the payment of other liabilities. The purchase price for the transaction is $242 million, subject to purchase price adjustments relating to receivables acquired and working capital changes. The investor group has delivered equity and debt financing commitments for the transaction, which are subject to customary conditions. The company expects to obtain approval and complete the transaction within six to eight weeks.

David Evans, President and CEO, Crown Media, said, "We are confident that the investor group will capitalise on its global media expertise to continue to expand this international business, while we focus our efforts on maintaining the tremendous growth in ratings and distribution we have been able to generate in our domestic business. From a financial perspective, this is an excellent opportunity for our company to reduce, leverage and improve our overall capital structure."

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