Hallmark Cards Inc. and Crown Media Holdings Inc. are looking for a partner
-- an investor or a media company with strategic leverage -- for Hallmark
Channel, sources said Friday.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Hallmark Cards, which owns
67 percent of Crown, has approached potential buyers or joint-venture partners
about its stake in the company.
Crown owns the domestic Hallmark Channel, which has 46.5 million subscribers,
as well as several international versions. The company's owners reportedly value
Crown at a hefty $1 billion.
News Corp. and Discovery Communications Inc. are among those that have been
approached by Hallmark, several sources said. But although Crown 'is being
shopped around,' the company is really focused on finding a strategic partner
for its domestic channel, one source maintained.
As part of the proposed deal, according to the Journal, Crown CEO
David Evans -- a veteran of News Corp. -- wants to remain head of the company.
In the Journal story, Evans denied that Crown is for sale or that
Hallmark wants out.
But in an early version of the Journal story, after his denial, Evans
was quoted as saying, 'As a stand-alone, one-channel business, we realize that
the right strategic partner could be of great interest .We have had and are
having those sorts of conversations.'
In a later Journal edition, that same quote is attributed to 'a person
familiar with the matter,' and not Evans.
Hallmark officials declined to comment Friday. Evans and Crown officials
couldn't be reached for comment. News Corp. declined to comment.
A DCI spokesman said, 'We're in constant conversations about a wide range of
strategic partnerships and ways to grow the asset value of Discovery, but we've
had a long-term policy not to comment on potential