Digest: Virgin delay; Playboy gains
LONDON -- As expected, turmoil in the debt markets has forced British cable operator Virgin Media to indefinitely postpone its planned $11 billion sale in a leveraged buyout deal, the company said Tuesday. The broadband, mobile, digital TV and telephony company effectively put itself in play in July after receiving an offer from private-equity firms led by the Carlyle Group, with a second consortium led by Providence Equity Partners thought to have been in the wings. But the company, in which Richard Branson remains the biggest shareholder, Tuesday blamed collapsing confidence in global credit markets for the delay. "To enhance shareholder value, Virgin Media's financial advisers have recommended that Virgin Media extend the process until these parties can complete their proposals in a more stable debt market environment," the company said.
Shares of Playboy Enterprises rose 5.2% on Tuesday after the adult-entertainment firm posted better-than-expected second-quarter results thanks to a strengthened U.S. TV business and higher licensing revenue. The firm swung to a profit of $1.9 million, compared with a year-ago loss of $3.3 million. Revenue rose 6% to $85.7 million, with U.S. TV revenue up 4%. Playboy closed at $10.81.
Shares of News Corp.-controlled NDS Group Plc. soared Tuesday after it said its fiscal fourth-quarter more than doubled driven by a 31% revenue increase. The provider of digital pay TV technology solutions reported a profit of $41.1 million, compared with $19.7 million a year ago. Revenue rose from $154.2 million to $201.9 million. NDS also said it has acquired for $11.3 million plus executive payouts CastUp Inc., a provider of online video delivery solutions. NDS shares rose 13.7% to $47.41.