Hallmark Cards Intends To Take Crown Media Private

A lagging stock price may be pushing Hallmark Cards to take Crown Media Holdings private.

Hallmark Cards, which holds a 90.3% stake in Crown Media Holdings -- home of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries -- intends to buy the remaining share it doesn’t own for around $175 million.

The Wall Street Journal first broke the news.

In a letter to Crown Media’ board, Hallmark said it wanted to make the move to "realize benefits from its ownership of Crown that are unavailable to it while Crown remains a public company with minority stockholders."

Crown Media Holding’ stock rose 3.1% to $5.09 on Wednesday trading on the news. A year ago, Crown Media stock’s was at $3.64 in March 9, 2015, rising to $6.08 in November before falling again to a low or $4.20 in late February.

For the its fourth-quarter reporting period, Crown Media posted a strong 21% gain in advertising revenue quarter-over-quarter to $134.1 million, versus other bigger TV-media companies getting 5% to 7% ad growth in those same periods.

Overall, fourth-quarter Crown Media revenue had 18% gain to $158.8 million; 2015 revenue was up 15% to $478.7 million. Net income for the fourth quarter was down to $38.9 million from $51.6 million.

In 2002, Hallmark Cards looked to sell all or part of its stake in Crown Media Holdings, valued then for as much as $1 billion.

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