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'Ratatouille' soft for Disney

Shares of the Walt Disney Co. closed up 1.1% on Monday even though some Wall Street observers said that the opening-weekend haul for "Ratatouille" fell below their expectations and might be the latest sign that animated fare is past its prime. Bear Stearns analyst Spencer Wang said he had projected a $50 million tally, with the Street consensus in the $50 million-$60 million range. "Ratatouille" grossed $47 million in its opening frame. He added that "Cars" last year grossed $60 million despite worse reviews. "This is another sign of our long-held thesis that CG animation has passed its peak given increased competitive output, which has saturated the market, fragmented market share, and may be driving up costs," Wang wrote. "As a result, we still think returns in CG will remain under pressure." Disney closed at $34.52; during the past 52 weeks, it has traded from $28.69-$36.79.



Virgin Media lands takeover offer

LONDON — Virgin Media said Monday that it has received a takeover offer but declined to confirm it is in discussions with either private-equity firm the Carlyle Group or a separate consortium believed to be led by Providence Equity Partners. Shares in the ailing cable company, which rebuffed a Providence-led bid last year offering $32 a share, soared 17.6% to $28.67 on the Nasdaq. Virgin said it had "received a proposal to acquire 100% of the common stock of the company" but had not engaged in formal talks with the undisclosed bidder. "The proposal is based on public information and is subject to various conditions, including a due diligence examination and a period of exclusivity," the company said. The proposal also states that it will be withdrawn if its terms are publicly disclosed.
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