Gemstar-TV Guide International’s board of directors is exploring a possible sale of the company.

The program guide-based technology, television and publishing company retained UBS as its financial advisor and the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz as its legal advisor to investigate "strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value," including (but not limited to) a sale of some or all of the company.

Anthea Disney, Gemstar-TV Guide’s chairman of the board, said in a statement issued this afternoon: "The Company has made significant improvements throughout its businesses and the Board is very pleased with the growth and strategic direction under CEO Richard Battista. We are now poised to investigate the range of available strategic alternatives for continuing to build shareholder value."

Gemstar, which is 41% owned by News Corp., said no further news would be forthcoming unless a sale was deemed in the best interests of its shareholders.

Shares of the company were halted in late trading about 30 minutes after today’s market close following the  announcement. The move will likely be discussed during its second quarter earnings call with analysts on July 27.

Rich Battista was named the company’s CEO in Dec. 2004, replacing Jeff Shell who moved to Comcast to head up its programming networks division. Its properties includes TV Guide Network, TV Guide magazine, the TVG horse racing channel and various online and mobile brand extensions.

Battista commented on the company’s 1st quarter earnings call on May 3 that Gemstar-TV Guide is now in "execution mode" after growing revenue 9% last year and acquiring Aptiv Digital, an interactive program guide firm.

The company recently announced My TV Guide, a cross-platform personalization push to leverage its connection with consumers, and an online video guide (and related awards) to capitalize on the growing Internet TV craze.

It also reached a program guide agreement with Verizon’s FiOS TV, launched an interactive channel on Dish Network and sued TVG rival HRTV, its owner Magna Entertainment and XpressBet.

On the international side of its business, last week the company struck a multi-year patent license agreement with Sky Italia.

The Daily


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