Henson's family buying back Muppets

Jim Henson's family is buying the Muppets back from a German company that has been doing S.F.A. with them for the past three years.

Munich-based EM.TV bought the company, and the rights to characters such as Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, in February 2000 for $680 million in cash and stock. But in May 2001, it said it was considering selling the Los Angeles-based firm. It has since sold some Henson assets, including the "Sesame Street" rights, for about $200 million.

Yesterday, it said it was selling the rest of Henson for $78 million in cash and was keeping the $11 million that the Henson operation had on hand.

"The family has been watching on the sidelines, sadly watching as EM.TV collapsed and never even started the plan they were going to do, and then painfully watching as the company was put back on the market," Henson said yesterday in an interview. "Both out of concern for where the company might end up and the legacy of Jim Henson … we decided to come back in to run the company."