KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Hallmark Cards Inc. announced it has formed a majority-owned subsidiary to acquire and operate communications properties.

Crown Media Inc. is a joint venture with James M. Hoak Jr., chairman of Heritage Media Corp. of Dallas, a statement released Friday said.

Hallmark, based in Kansas City, will hold 98 percent of the equity of the newly formed company, to be based in Dallas, the statement said.

Hoak will serve as chairman of the venture, which will acquire businesses in the communications field, including cable television systems and networks, broadcast television and radio stations, and publishing operations.

''We believe Crown Media represents significant growth potential for Hallmark and that Jim's expertise in building companies and evaluating investment opportunities will help us realize that potential,'' said Irvine O. Hockaday Jr., Hallmark president and chief executive officer.

Hallmark is the world's largest publisher of greeting cards and related personal communications products.