Crown Media's Hallmark Auction Fizzles

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Crown Media's attempt to unload Hallmark Channel and its other operations failed, and the company has pulled the assets off the block. The company had been trying to gin up an auction, hoping to sell the assets for around $2 billion. But potential suitors balked over the Hallmark Channel's weak affiliation deals with cable and satellite operators, massive ongoing losses, and the high valuation the company put on its library of made-for-TV movies.

News Corp., Comcast, Viacom and billionaire Phillip Anschutz have all taken a look at the company but wouldn't pay what Crown Media sought. The company has scheduled a conference call with investors for 4 p.m. ET Monday.

Said Crown Media CEO David Evans in a statement, "Ultimately, the board determined that the greatest value for our shareholders will be derived by our continued operation of our business. Given the record ratings results, subscriber growth, solid advertising and subscriber fee revenue increases we have been able to achieve, we believe that the underlying business fundamentals are in place to enhance the value of Crown Media by building a more successful business."

As a result of the failure of the auction, cable network marketing veteran Chris Moseley resigned her post as executive VP of Hallmark. Moseley, who is best-known from her days at Discovery Channel, helped drive the network's strong ratings growth.

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