Gemstar Posts Loss, Cites Pending Deals

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Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. saw fairly lukewarm first-quarter earnings, but its executives remained upbeat about prospects for the rest of 2002.

Although the company's first-quarter performance was an improvement from the previous year, it was not a strong quarter for the print and electronic programming-guide provider. Cash flow fell to $102.1 million on $296.6 million in revenue for the quarter that ended March 31, from $120 million on $342.2 million in revenue in first-quarter 2001.

Gemstar also took a $297.8 million impairment charge related to intangible assets, which contributed to a net loss of $208 million.

Among its three principal business units, only the interactive platform division posted an operating profit. It pulled in $22 million in revenue on $20.3 million in expenses, a 50 percent revenue increase versus the same quarter a year ago.

THOMSON LOOMS

During a conference call, chairman and CEO Henry Yuen said Gemstar would soon announce a strategic partnership with Thomson Multimedia, through which it would license its interactive programming guide technology to Thomson's consumer electronics, satellite receivers and digital-cable set-top boxes.

He also said Gemstar had just signed an agreement with Nielsen Media Research to capture and provide viewing data through its IPG.

Newly appointed co-president and chief operating officer Jeff Shell also said Gemstar would be working more closely with cable operators in the future.

"I think that we are much more collaborative with the cable operators," the former Fox Cable Networks Group CEO said. "Our past relationship issues, which I think have been well documented, really are not because of the business.

"I think our business is really tied together with the cable operators. I think they realize they need our technology and they need our guide to fulfill their digital dreams and aspirations."

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