Struggling co.'s stock down nearly 90%

Beleaguered publisher and television programming guide provider Gemstar-TV Guide International has tapped former Primedia exec John Loughlin prexy of a new unit called TV Guide Publishing Group.

The TV Guide Publishing Group unit will contain all of TV Guide’s print and online businesses, including the TV Guide Magazine Group and TV Guide Online, the company said.

John O’Reilly, president of TV Guide Magazine Group; Steven Reddicliffe, editor in chief of TV Guide magazine; and Tom Hagopian, president of TV Guide Online, will report to Loughlin, who will report to company co-prexy and chief operating officer Jeff Shell.

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the great powerhouses in American publishing history, TV Guide magazine, it is fitting that we welcome an executive with proven experience, strategic vision, and creativity to lead us forward,” Shell said.

“I am thrilled by the opportunities we have to reinvigorate the business,” Loughlin said in a statement. “I’m equally enthusiastic about the prospect of building a set of valuable and profitable businesses centered around our core positioning of TV guidance.”

Gemstar has lost two high-profile patent litigation cases this year and is facing questions about its accounting practices. Its shares have lost almost 90% of their value this year. Shares closed Friday at $3.58, down 4%.

Media conglom News Corp. owns more than 42% of Gemstar. The falling stock price this year has forced the media giant to take billions in writeoffs to reflect the lower value of its Gemstar investment, angering News Corp. topper Rupert Murdoch, who is said to be campaigning for the ouster of Gemstar CEO Henry Yuen.

Loughlin was executive vice president of Primedia and president and chief executive of its consumer media and magazine group, overseeing a portfolio of more than 150 magazine titles and Web sites that included Seventeen, Motor Trend and New York Magazine.

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