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Revs, losses narrow at Gemstar

Shell attributes decline to drop in TV Guide circulation

Gemstar-TV Guide Intl., publisher of TV Guide magazine and subject of a long-running federal investigation, on Thursday announced a 13% drop in revenues but a smaller net loss for the second quarter.

For the three months ended June 30, the company posted sales of $226 million, compared with $259 million in the year-ago period. CEO Jeff Shell attributed the decline in revenues to circulation losses at TV Guide magazine and strong competition for its TV Guide Interactive business, which provides onscreen program guides to cable operators.

Net loss for the quarter was $22.5 million, compared with $886 million in 2002. The year-ago period included a $1.3 billion writedown on the value of assets.

Shell, the former head of Fox cable networks who came aboard Gemstar last year, noted, “The company’s new management team is executing revised operating strategies across each business, a process that will take some time.”

The company took a $600,000 charge in the quarter related to shutting down its electronic book business.

Gemstar, 43% owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., has been the subject of a Securities & Exchange Commission investigation since last year over a variety of accounting procedures. Two months ago, the SEC also filed a fraud lawsuit against former CEO Henry Yuen and former chief financial officer Elsie Leung.

Gemstar said it is cooperating with the SEC. Gemstar shares closed up 6¢ Thursday at $4.60.