Losses, revs narrow, at Gemstar in 1st qtr.

Cable, satellite division's revenues down nearly 20%

NEW YORK — Gemstar narrowed its losses but posted a nearly 13% slump in revenues for the first quarter of 2003 — the troubled company’s first reporting period after a slew of financial restatements and legal wrangling over the past year.

The programming-guide provider, which owns the TV Guide brand and is 50% controlled by News Corp., posted a loss of more than $45 million for the quarter, compared to more than $270 million of red ink in the same period a year ago.

The 2002 figure includes a $223 million accounting charge to reflect restatement of revenues that were improperly booked. Company has been under investigation by the Securities & Exchange Commission since October.

The big weak spot for the quarter was Gemstar’s cable and satellite segment, which provides TV Guide services to pay television operators. Revenue for the unit tumbled by almost 20% from the year before to $85 million.

CE Licensing, which licenses Gemstar’s interactive guide technology to electronics manufacturers, fared better, boosting revenues by 6% to just under $34 million.

Gemstar investors were heartened by Thursday’s performance, bidding the company’s shares up 1.5% to close at $4.18. The stock has tumbled from highs near $120 in 2000 to a recent low of just $2.36 amid accounting woes.

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