Long-overdue financial results for
Gemstar-TV Guide International
finally arrived in preliminary form on Thursday. Unfortunately, the numbers aren't a pretty sight.
Suffering from a weak advertising market and well-publicized patent litigation setbacks -- not to mention a possible
delisting -- Gemstar saw its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -- a common bottom-line yardstick for media companies -- swing from a $108 million gain in the second quarter of 2001 to a $54.2 million loss in the 2002 second quarter ended June 30.
Additionally, the company recorded $1.26 billion in impairment charges, nearly all that coming from a writedown in the value of Gemstar's print magazine
, revenue from which fell 16% in the quarter from a year ago. Gemstar, which also markets an onscreen, interactive program guide, said that the weak ad market and apparent advertiser hesitancy related to advertising on IPGs may lead the company to revise its 2002 guidance for this business, though revenue grew 9% from last year and interactive platform EBITDA swung from a loss to a gain.
Gemstar's results -- which may be altered in the company's official filing of quarterly financial results with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
-- indicate how the company, with one foot in traditional media and the other in new media, is facing difficulties in each area. While continuing to generate cash, the venerable
weekly magazine franchise is declining in value. Meanwhile, the company's patents covering the emerging technology of IPGs may not generate the revenue long expected.
After spending more than a year recognizing licensing revenue from set-top box manufacturer
-- even though Gemstar and S-A were in litigation over Gemstar's patents, and S-A was refusing to make license payments -- Gemstar reversed its approach. It has now ceased recognizing revenue from S-A and has written off previously recognized revenue as a bad debt of $113.5 million.
On top of those issues, Gemstar was scheduled to fight its potential delisting from the Nasdaq at a hearing Thursday. The delisting move results from Gemstar's failure to file second-quarter financial statements by the mid-August deadline. Gemstar has delayed its filing, the company says, because of a disagreement with its auditor over Gemstar's proposed changes to earlier financial statements, changes which Gemstar says reflect a more conservative approach than that which the company took previously.
Gemstar's shares, down 91% from their 52-week highs, fell 35 cents, or 11%, to $2.89 on Thursday morning.