Gemstar Stock Plunges 37% on Accounting Concerns

Gemstar-TV Guide, the parent company of the TV Games Network, took a heavy blow in the stock market Tuesday after an analyst questioned the accounting of $127.6 million in revenue.

The media and technology companyês stock was top losing stock on the Nasdaq market, falling 37%, or $5.30, to close at $9.01. During exceptionally heavy trading, Gemstar hit a new 52-week low of $8.88. The trading volume of 51.4 million shares was by far the largest for year.

Questions raised by CIBC Oppenheimer analyst John Corcoran sparked the sell-off, according to Dow Jones Business News. Corcoran suggested that Gemstar had recognized in its annual report $107.6 million in revenue from Scientific-Atlanta that it hadnêt received. Gemstar is in the middle of an intellectual property lawsuit with Scientific-Atlanta. Also questioned was $20 million in advertising sales for its interactive program guide, which was actually bartered for intellectual property from another source, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Corcoran suggested that the $20 million could distort the growth rate for Gemstarês patented interactive program guide, which is an electronic navigating system for digital cable television users.

Gemstar chairman and chief executive officer Henry Yuen defended both issues raised by Corcoran.

"Our financials were filed with a clean opinion from our auditor," Yuen said Tuesday during a conference call with investors. "The recording of revenues, including that of Scientific-Atlanta, are both reasonable and fair, and appropriate."

He also said the likelihood that Gemstar would lose its legal battle with Scientific-Atlanta and not be able to collect the $107.6 million were "exceedingly small."

As for the $20 million, Yuen said the amount is smaller than the amount bartered by other companies "attempting to build a new medium." Yuen added that even without the $20 million the interactive program guide still shows growth.

Gemstar stock was downgraded by CIBC Oppenheimer from buy to hold and by Salomon Smith Barney from outperform to neutral.

Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif Cohen, however, told Dow Jones Business News that Tuesdayês activity on Gemstar was "overblown." If Gemstar wins against Scientific Atlanta, as the company believes it will, it could collect triple damages. As for the barter, she said it was in exchange for Gemstar buying intellectual property and offering advertising time as part of the purchase.

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