Walt Disney Co. and the family of the late Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets, broke off talks after failing to reach agreement in Disney's 18-month bid to acquire Henson Associates Inc.
Disney also had sought an exclusive production agreement in the deal valued at $100 million to $150 million."We truly regret we could not come to terms," Disney chairman Michael D. Eisner said Thursday.
Erwin Okun, a Disney Co. vice president, said it was too early to tell whether the failed acquisition would preclude the two companies from attempting future joint productions. He noted that statements issued by both companies were cordial.
The Henson family, which has owned Henson Associates since the puppeteer's death in May, said current projects with Disney would not be affected by the termination of talks.
Those projects include a Disney Channel television series, "Jim Henson's Mother Goose"; a television sitcom involving dinosaurs, to be aired in January on ABC; and a 3-D film visitors would see at Walt Disney World in Florida.
"We would have liked to see this deal succeed," the Henson family said in a statement. "Unfortunately, after 18 months of negotiating, the companies could not reach a mutually satisfactory agreement."
Henson, the genius behind such characters as Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, founded his production company in 1958 as Muppets Inc. to produce all his properties.
Recent negotiations had centered on the lower price Disney offered after Henson died of pneumonia May 18.