Haffa founded EM.TV in 1989, specializing in the distribution and marketing of children's and family entertainment in Germany and throughout Europe. Henson had business dealings with EM.TV, primilarly through EM.TV licensing Muppet products in Germany.
In February 2000, EM.TV announced a deal to buy the Henson Company from the Henson family for $680 million. With this deal, which included Henson's renowned characters and library, as well as several stakes in U.S. cable networks, EM.TV gained powerful access to the U.S. media market, and Haffa was closer to realizing his dream of EM.TV becoming a global media player.
A month after the Henson purchase, EM.TV bought a 50% stake in the Formula One racing circuit, furthering EM.TV's sports programming assets. In July 2000, EM.TV swapped Henson's stakes in Odyssey Network and The Kermit Channel for a stake in cable operator Crown Media Holdings. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, at an EM.TV investor conference in 2000, Kermit the Frog remarked that it was great to be a "whole Haffa, not just half a Haffa."
By the end of 2000, EM.TV entered a severe financial crisis, with its stock plummeting as much as 90%. In December 2000, EM.TV sold the rights to the Sesame Street characters to Sesame Workshop, and put The Jim Henson Company itself up for sale in early 2001.
Thomas Haffa, under increasing shareholder and government scrutiny, resigned from the company he founded in September 2001. In May of 2003, EM.TV sold The Jim Henson Company back to the Henson family for a sum of $84 million.