Gemstar-TV Guide, which owns TVG, the account wagering service and horse racing network and publishes TV Guide magazine, said July 9 it had hired investment bankers to explore strategic alternatives, including the sale of the company.
The company is controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. The company licenses its interactive program guide to cable and satellite TV companies as well as hardware makers.
The company hired UBS Investment Bank as a financial adviser. It gave no timeline for making a decision.
Gemstar’s chairwoman, Anthea Disney, said the board was happy with the growth and strategy of the company and said it was taking the next step to raise shareholder returns. “We are now poised to investigate the range of available strategic alternatives for continuing to build shareholder value,” she said in a statement.
Gemstar has struggled over the years with declining circulation of its flagship magazine as well as distractions caused by federal investigations of its founder, Henry Yuen, and another executive, who were accused of inflating revenue to meet quarterly earnings targets. The company began to rebound in 2006 under the leadership of Richard Battista and recently began a series of new efforts, including a search tool for Internet video. The new efforts will emphasize the company’s core TV Guide brand.
In 2006, net income rose 32% to $72.5 million, or 17 cents a share, and revenue fell 5% to $571.3 million.