Gemstar-TV Guide Stock and Second Quarter Suffering

Gemstar-TV Guide lost 18% of its value Tuesday after it omitted earnings per share information from its second quarter report, and an analyst downgraded the stock. The company watched its stock fall $10 to $44.69. Though the stock gained nearly $2 by the end of trading Wednesday, the price is still 57% from a 52-week high of $107.44 set in March.

Gemstar-TV Guide, which is the parent to the TV Games Network, reported a 30% increase in revenue, but also reported a $115.8 million loss in net income. Earnings per share dropped to a loss of 30 cents from a profitable 7 cents per share during the second quarter of 1999, but the company failed to release this information late Monday. Company executives defended their selective release of information only by saying complete financial information would be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The fuzzy second-quarter results and sketchy details offered during a conference call were key reasons CIBC World Markets analyst John Corcoran downgraded Gemstar-TV Guide to buy from strong buy, and cut his 12-month stock price target to $79 from $120. Corcoran's decision was a significant factor in Tuesday's sell-off.

Gemstar's acquisition of TV Guide on July 12 was the main event influencing the second quarter results. TV Guide increased revenue for the quarter by $261.5 million, but also increased operating expenses by $190.6 million. In order for the TV Guide acquisition to be comparable to the second quarter of 1999, the company calculated its financial information on a pro forma basis. Pro forma means the company presented the information as if TV Guide was bought April 1, 1999.

Gemstar-TV Guide is divided into four sectors. The investment and holdings sector, which includes a variety of non-core businesses, is the home of TVG. The parent company's primary business is the development and distribution of interactive television program guides. The investment and holdings sector produced mixed results for the quarter. Pro forma revenue decreased 17% to $98.2 million and 14% to $207 million for the past six months. Pro forma operating expenses, however, also decreased 23% to $77.5 million for the second quarter and 18% to $161.3 million for the past six months. As a result, the earnings before interest, taxes, and depreciation increased 13.6% for the second quarter to $20.7 million and increased 2.4% to $46.1 million for the past six months.

Decreased revenue was related to a decline in large dish satellite customers. The decline was accelerated by a deal to convert large dish customers to Echostar's small dish digital DISH Network service. The deal was made after Echostar added TVG to its basic package of programs. Reducing the large dish customers had some benefit. Operating costs associated with programming and customer management decreased.