Digest: Playboy loss; Below sinks
Playboy Enterprises posted a quarterly loss Wednesday, disappointing Wall Street, which expected a profit. The company also predicted a 30% advertising decline at its flagship magazine during the current quarter. The news sent the stock down 1.3% to $8.52. Lower U.S. TV revenue and a deeper loss for its publishing group offset double-digit growth for its international TV and licensing businesses. Playboy said its fourth-quarter loss was $1.1 million, compared with a profit of $3.7 million a year ago. Revenue slipped from $86.2 million a year ago to $85.9 million. Playboy CEO Christie Hefner said the company would invest more in technology, marketing and content to drive growth in online and mobile.
Belo posted lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings as it suffered from the depressed advertising market for newspapers. The results included impairment charges, leading to a loss of $333.4 million. Excluding items, quarterly profit was down from $51.3 million a year ago to $33.1 million. Revenue fell 6.8% to $407 million. TV division revenue dropped 2.4% because of lower political revenue.
Disney has acquired a 20% stake in digital terrestrial TV channel Net TV, taking a first step into Spain's DTT market. The deal gives Disney's Spanish unit a long-term strategic alliance and satisfies Net TV's controlling stakeholder Vocento's objective to increase the value of its license -- one of six granted by the Spanish government in 2000. Vocento, which holds a 55% stake in Net TV, also owns a 13% stake in Spain's most profitable commercial channel, Telecinco. Observers said the deal with Disney bolsters Net TV's value prior to a potential sale.