LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Fred Flinstone and Yogi Bear may soon be working for new bosses. MCA Inc. is reportedly considering buying Hanna-Barbera Productions, which holds the rights to those and other cartoon stars.
MCA has not made a formal offer for the animation company but is conducting research into the company’s assets and liabilities, a source quoted in Thursday’s editions of the Los Angeles Times said.
The newspaper said Hanna-Barbera, owned by debt-burdened Great American Communications Co. of Cincinnati, has been on the block for several months at an asking price of $350 million to $400 million.
But a factor that could complicate a deal is a distribution agreement that binds Hanna-Barbera to Worldvision Enterprises Inc., which is owned by another Great American affiliate, Spelling Entertainment Inc.
Worldvision holds the distribution rights to more than 5,000 half-hour episodes of Hanna-Barbera cartoons.
MCA, which has its own distribution system, is trying to negotiate a deal under which Hanna-Barbera’s ties to Worldvision could be severed, the Times reported.
MCA, acquired recently by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. of Japan, already has close ties to Hanna-Barbera. Its Universal Studios Florida theme park includes a Hanna-Barbera attraction.