Digest: Virgin seeks arbitration
EmptyVirgin Media has offered to invite a third party to arbitrate its deadlocked negotiations on carriage deals with satellite TV firm British Sky Broadcasting, the company said Wednesday. The move, which has been rejected by the Rupert Murdoch-controlled satcaster, came as Virgin Media unveiled lackluster fourth-quarter results that saw its loss more than double from £56.2 million last year to £122 million ($239.3 million) as more than 37,000 customers quit the combined TV, Internet and telephony services during the period. Revenue doubled to £1.1 billion ($2.2 billion) following the consolidation of former rival Telewest and the acquisition of cell phone operator Virgin Mobile last year.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit rose to $16.2 million compared with $2.9 million a year ago on better magazine advertising sales. Revenue rose 15% to $97 million. The company founded by Martha Stewart has no plans to go private, CEO Susan Lyne said, addressing speculation that it could be a buyout target. The company forecast full-year 2007 revenue of $330 million-$340 million.
German cable giant Kabel Deutschland increased revenue and cut its loss in the fourth quarter as the roll-out of digital TV in Germany picked up steam. KDG said revenue jumped 8.5% to €273.3 million ($361.2 million) compared with €251.9 million in the same period a year ago. The company, controlled by private-equity group Providence Equity Partners, lost €2.3 million ($3 million) in the quarter, compared with a €10 million loss last year. Christof Wahl, the spokesman for KDG's management board, said the revenue growth was largely because of the rapid digitalization of the company's vast cable network, which reaches about 10 million customers across Germany.