TVG Announces Record Handle for Third Quarter

TVG Announces Record Handle for Third Quarter
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The parent company of TVG reported a record handle of $148.5 million for the third quarter of 2007, and announced a new wagering partnership in New York during a Nov. 1 conference call with analysts.

Included in the financials for Gemstar-TV Guide International was the record handle for TVG, which bettered the second-quarter total of $125 million by 18.8%, and the $126.6 million of third quarter of 2006 by 17.3%

“(The third quarter) was the best quarter in the company history in regards to handle,” said Gemstar chief executive officer Rich Battista during the call. “Despite the loss of some Churchill Downs tracks during the quarter, we saw strong growth in active advance deposit wagering, and double-digit increases from such key tracks as Belmont, Del Mar and Saratoga; as well as incremental growth from new exclusive tracks such as The Meadowlands, Monmouth Park and Yonkers (Raceway).”

Gemstar, which calls itself a global media, entertainment, and technology company, reported its TVG signal is available in 28.1 million homes – up 17.2% from the 18.6 million a year ago.

TVG also announced Nov. 1 that it will have an on-line wagering presence in New York for the first time.

A new Internet wagering platform (www.tvgnewyork.com), which was developed with a joint agreement with Yonkers Raceway, was approved by the New York Racing and Wagering Board Oct. 26, and will provide on-line account wagering for New York residents.

“I think it is a real positive,” Battista said. “We do have some sports-tier carriage in New York, but we haven’t had wagering. We think there is a real opportunity for us in New York.”

Battista repeatedly declined comment on the company’s July announcement that it had launched a strategic review of its operations that may include putting itself up for sale.

One analyst asked if the whole company could be sold, or if specific segments could be purchased by outside buyers.

“We are exploring various options,” Battista said. “We are not going to commit or elaborate right now.”

As a company, Gemstar-TV Guide International reported a net income for the third quarter $123.2 million, or $0.29 per share, compared with net income of $17.5 million, or $0.04 per share in the third quarter of 2006. Income benefited from the reversal of approximately $115 million in valuation allowance against the company’s deferred tax assets, according to a statement released by the Gemstar. Total revenue rose 7% to $159.6 million.

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