Financial Briefs

Goldman Sachs & Co. analyst Richard Simon lowered his investment rating on New Line Cinema Corp. to “market performer” from “trading buy.” Simon says he made the downgrade because two movies released by the company, “Loaded Weapon 1” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III,” haven’t fared as well as expected.

Sony Corp. of America will realign key business and support operations between its sales/marketing and manufacturing/research and development arms effective April 1. “This move will effectively redistribute key responsibilities among the members of the management team for Sony’s electronics business” in the U.S., said Ken Iwaki, Sony Corp. executive deputy president who continues as Sony Corp. of America chairman and CEO.

Beverly Hills Video Group has completed the acquisition of MTC Production Center. The deal was arranged by Philips Credit Corp., a unit of Philips N.V. The move will more than double the size of BHVG.

Fitch Investors Service said it has rated Time Warner Entertainment Co. L.P.’s new issue of $ 1 billion 8 3/8% senior debentures due 2023 BBB-. Fitch said proceeds from the offering will be used to reduce bank debt and the credit trend is improving. Separately, Standard & Poor’s Corp. assigned its BB+ to Time Warner Inc.’s $ 3.14 billion 8 3/4% convertible subordinated debentures due 2015 , which are being exchanged for the outstanding series C preferred stock with the same liquidation value. S&P also assigns its BBB- rating to subsidiary Time Warner Entertainment Co. L.P.’s $ 1 billion 8 3/8% senior debentures due 2023.

Laser Video Network Inc. has entered into a contract with Clation Marketing and Communications to design and deploy five prototype in-store audio/video sampling systems. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Warner/Chappell Music Inc., a division of Time Warner Inc., said it reached a multimillion-dollar contract with karaoke software manufacturer Nikkodo U.S.A. Inc. in which top-40 tunes from Warner/Chappell’s song library will be made available on karaoke laser disc, CDG and VHS formats.

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