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Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023

Business Briefs: Disney, Gemstar, Internet Brands, Crown Media Holdings, IndyMac, Korn/Ferry, Cherokee

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A new distribution agreement between

Walt Disney Co.

and Pixar could happen in the “not-too-distant future,” Pixar Chief Executive Steve Jobs said during an interview with the CNBC financial news network. “We’re having some productive discussions,” Jobs said of talks with Disney’s next chief executive, Robert Iger. “I hope they go somewhere, but we’ll know in the not too distant future.” Emeryville-based Pixar ended talks to extend its distribution deal with Disney last year, after Jobs clashed with outgoing Disney Chief Executive Michael Eisner.

The current distribution agreement between Pixar and Burbank-based Disney ends with next year’s animated film “Cars.”

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission can proceed with a fraud lawsuit against Henry Yuen, a former chief executive of

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.

, and Elsie Leung, a former Gemstar chief financial officer, Bloomberg News reported. A federal judge in Los Angeles last week denied a motion by Yuen and Leung for summary judgment in their favor, saying they haven’t demonstrated that in reporting financial information they relied on the opinions of the company’s outside auditor KPMG a factor in showing whether they intended to commit to fraud.

The SEC in 2003 accused Gemstar of reporting false advertising sales to inflate revenue by about $248 million from 1999 to 2002. Gemstar shares plummeted in September 2002 as losses mounted.

& #8226; Internet Brands Inc.

announced the acquisition of online vacation rental sites VacationHomes.com and Vamoose.com. This expansion creates the third business category for L.A.-based Internet Brands, which launched the online car-buying CarsDirect.com in 1999 and expanded into the home mortgage lending category in 2004. The new Internet Brands Travel Division will be headed up by John McGanty, who has joined the company as general manager.

& #8226; Crown Media Holdings Inc.

, operator of the Hallmark Channel, said it hired Citigroup Inc. to advise the company on the potential sale of its assets. Studio City-based Crown Media said on Aug. 18 that it had formed a committee of board members to explore strategic alternatives for its business, including selling the channel or the entire company to a third party. The difficulty of running a stand-alone cable channel prompted the company to consider putting itself up for sale, Crown Media Chief Executive David Evans said last month. The Hallmark Channel is ranked among the top 10 cable networks and has nearly 70 million viewers.

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A former vice president of

IndyMac Bancorp Inc.

agreed to pay $81,456 to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission claim that he used confidential corporate information to profit on a rise in the Pasadena-based bank’s share price. Upon learning that the earnings for the second quarter of 2004 were significantly above company projections, Jameson Thottam, the former vice president of corporate strategic planning, bought call options on IndyMac shares, giving him the right to buy 20,000 shares at $30 per share, the SEC said in its complaint. When the bank announced earnings two weeks later, the stock price surged to $33.22. Three days later, Thottam allegedly liquidated his options and netted $40,258.

Thottam did not admit or deny wrongdoing when agreeing to settle the SEC’s complaint.

& #8226; Korn/Ferry International

, an L.A.-based executive recruiting firm, reported net income of $11.6 million (27 cents per diluted share) for the first quarter ended July 31, compared with $8.4 million (20 cents) for the like period a year ago. Revenues rose to $129.1 million from $108.2 million in the year-ago period.

The company expects second-quarter fee revenue of $118 million to $124 million and earnings in the range of 22 cents to 27 cents per diluted share.

& #8226; Cherokee Inc.

, a Van Nuys-based apparel licensor and brand management company, reported net income of $4.6 million (52 cents per diluted share) for the second quarter ended July 30, compared with $4.3 million (50 cents) for the like period a year ago. Revenues rose to $11.3 million from $10.2 million in the year-ago period.


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