Digest: Image exploring strategic opportunities
EmptyImage Entertainment Inc. on Monday reiterated that it will continue to explore potential strategic opportunities, including a sale of the company. Image, which has been the target of an unsolicited takeover bid by Lionsgate Entertainment, also said it has appointed board member David Coriat to its independent special committee that explores the alternatives. Coriat is chief financial officer of Standard Broadcasting, Image's third-largest shareholder.
Bear Stearns analyst Spencer Wang on Monday raised his price target on shares of Comcast Corp. from $37 to $44, citing expectations for higher operating results at the cable giant starting next year. "There is more room for upside," the analyst wrote in a research note. Wang maintained his "outperform" rating on the stock. He listed three main factors that should boost Comcast's momentum: faster telephony service adoption, "more sustainable" average revenue per user for the company's broadband Internet service and the integration of the acquired Adelphia Communications cable systems.
Private equity groups have started showing interest in the auction of media firm Tribune Co., the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. A suitor group consisting of Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners and Apollo Management already is in the hunt for the company, as is one partnering Thomas H. Lee Partners with Texas Pacific Group. Carlyle Group also is active in the process, though it is not yet clear whether it will join one of these consortia or bid on its own, the Journal said. Tribune is looking for nonbinding indications of interest by month's end and hopes to wrap up any deal by year's end, the newspaper reported. Company shares moved higher on the news. VNU Group is owned by a consortium of private-equity investors that includes the Carlyle Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners.