American Greetings Goes Private
American Greetings Corporation announced that it has signed a definitive agreement under which a newly organized entity owned by the Weiss Family will acquire the company taking it private.
Under the agreement, American Greetings Class A and Class B shareholders, excluding the Weiss Family and related entities, will receive $18.20 per share in cash, and, if declared by the board of directors, one regular quarterly dividend of $0.15 per share declared and payable in a manner consistent with the company’s past practice.
If the transaction closed in July 2013, the targeted closing date, the total cash amount shareholders would receive would be $18.35 per share. The total value of the transaction is approximately $878 million.
The $18.20 per share price represents a premium of 26.9 percent over the trading price for Class A shares on September 25, 2012, the date on which the Weiss Family initially proposed to acquire the company, and a premium of 13 percent over the closing trading price on March 28, 2013.
The transaction will be financed through a combination of the contributions of the American Greetings shares owned by the Weiss Family, cash funded by a $240 million non-voting preferred stock investment committed by Koch AG Investment, LLC, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, Inc., and $600 million in committed debt financing, consisting of a $400 million term loan and a $200 million revolving credit facility, and cash on hand.
“We are excited to be able to lead the company into the next chapter of its history,” said Jeffrey Weiss, president and COO, in a statement. “The transaction returns the company to private ownership in a way that we believe enables the Company to continue to serve the interests of its customers, employees, suppliers, and the communities in which it operates as it has for over a century.”
Finding Dory Set for Theaters in 2015
Disney/Pixar announced yesterday that a sequel to Finding Nemo is expected in theaters in the fall of 2015 called Finding Dory.
Comedian Ellen DeGeneres will reprise her role as Dory from the 2003 film. DeGeneres was quoted yesterday as saying, “The script is fantastic. It has everything I loved about the first one: a lot of heart, it’s really funny, and the best part is it’s got a lot more Dory.”
Plot details have not been revealed yet but the film is reportedly set on the California coast a year after the original film.
The Passing of Jane Henson
The Jim Henson Company announced that Jane Henson died in her Connecticut home yesterday after a long battle with cancer. She was 79. A memorial mass is planned for next week.
Jane Nebel Henson met Jim Henson in a puppetry class at the University of Maryland and soon after became an integral creative and business partner in what would become the world famous Muppets. While still an undergraduate, Jim Henson was offered a spot on the local NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C., WRC-TV, and asked Jane Nebel to join him as a co-performer and creator. At the time she was a fine arts education major.
The television show, Sam and Friends, which aired before The Huntley-Brinkley Report and The Tonight Show Starring Steve Allen, in Washington D.C., began to attract an enthusiastic audience. Their first national television guest appearance was on The Tonight Show Starring Steve Allen.
Jane Nebel graduated in 1955, but continued working with Jim Henson at WRC-TV as a performer, puppet designer/builder, and business partner.
In May 1959, Jane Nebel married Jim Henson at her parents’ home in Salisbury, Md. Within the next five years, she gave birth to Lisa Henson (1960), Cheryl Henson (1961), Brian Henson (1963), and John Henson (1965). Heather Henson was born in 1970. The couple legally separated in 1986.
In addition to her work with the Muppets, Henson continued her studies in fine art at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Years later, the family would live in Greenwich, CT, where Jane was assistant art teacher at the Mead School for Human Development.
She continued her official association with The Jim Henson Company actively participating in the company as it became an important global family entertainment organization. She collaborated with Jim Henson on a number of projects that included the traveling museum exhibit The Art of The Muppets, The Muppet Show on Tour, and Sesame Street Live arena stage shows.
She also served on the board of The Jim Henson Foundation. It was founded in 1982 by Jim Henson to promote and develop the art of puppetry and is presently headed by Cheryl Henson. Each year the foundation introduces thousands of adults and families to puppetry through grant-making and public awareness efforts. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded more than 675 grants to more than 300 American puppet artists for the creation and development of new work.
In 1992, she funded and founded The Jim Henson Legacy, to conserve, preserve, and present the artistic contribution of Jim Henson. In 2001, she created the Jane Henson Foundation, where she continued her philanthropic work. Henson also co-founded The National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, where she displayed a notable talent for discovering new performers and supporting their work.
The Jim Henson Company created a tribute page featuring images from Jane’s life that can be found at www.henson.com/jane.html.
Donations may be sent in memory of Jane Henson to the following organizations:
The Jim Henson Foundation for the support of puppetry
The Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Center