TV Guide mulls sale

Company exploring options, bids

NEW YORK — Publishing and television outfit Gemstar TV Guide is on the block.

The company said Monday that it is looking into a number of options, including a sale, after a period when it began to reverse its fortunes under topper Rich Battista.

Company chair Anthea Disney said in a statement that Gemstar-TV Guide is “now poised to investigate the range of available strategic alternatives for continuing to build shareholder value.”

News Corp., which controls Gemstar, said it supports a sale; the conglom said the company could fit better under a different owner. UBS Investment Bank is advising the firm on the potential sale.

But who might buy the company — which is an odd amalgam of user guides and content — is a difficult question, especially as more freewheeling buyers like private-equity firms seek to be more careful about their investments.

Gemstar-TV Guide endured setbacks after an accounting scandal; it also has faced erosion on the print side of its biz as competition has grown.

But it increased net income by more than 30% last year and revenue by about 9% in the first quarter of 2007.

And the company earlier this year purchased rival firm Aptiv Digital in a bid to solidify its hold on the interactive program-guide market.

On the airwaves, TV Guide is moving into original programming with shows including “America’s Next Producer.” Net also made news when it announced that actress Lisa Rinna will take over red-carpet duties from Joan Rivers.

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