Gemstar-TV Guide looks at options

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NEW YORK - Programming guide firm Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. said Monday its board has authorized the company and advisors to explore strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value, which may include a sale.

A spokesman for Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which owns 42% stake in Gemstar, said the company is looking at its options with the support from its largest shareholder.

"As a long time, significant shareholder of Gemstar-TV Guide, News Corporation continues to be very pleased with the progress that management has made in recent years and the strategic direction of the company," the News Corp. spokesman said. "However, Gemstar's core competencies are in cross platform video guidance, which is not an area in which News Corporation is seeking to increase its presence. News Corporation fully supports the Gemstar-TV Guide's board of directors' decision to explore strategic alternatives at this time in order to maximize value for all shareholders."

A Gemstar spokeswoman declined to comment further on the news.

"The company has made significant improvements throughout its businesses, and the board is very pleased with the growth and strategic direction under CEO Richard Battista," said Gemstar chairman Anthea Disney in a statement after the market close. "We are now poised to investigate the range of available strategic alternatives for continuing to build shareholder value."

The board will work with the company's management team and its legal and financial advisors to evaluate possible alternatives, according to the statement. Gemstar emphasized it will "identify the course of action it believes is in the best interests of all its shareholders."

UBS Investment Bank is acting as financial advisor, with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz being the legal advisor.
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