Shares of DreamWorks Animation SKG rose 2.2% to $28.51 on Thursday after Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield upgraded the stock from "sell" to "neutral." The upgrade came a day after billionaire investor Paul Allen initiated a secondary offering of 11.6 million of his shares, leading Greenfield to declare that "the last major negative near-term catalyst that supported our 'sell' rating has played out." Among the analyst's reasons for not calling the stock a "buy" is concern over the amount of the write-off on "Flushed Away." Greenfield said his estimate of $40 million in the fourth quarter "could prove conservative."
TV-Loonland boosted revenue 38% to €4.5 million ($5.8 million) and turned a slim profit in the third quarter, prompting the German kidvidder to say that it has turned a corner since its management shake-up in April. Loonland turned a €1 million loss a year ago into a marginal €30,000 ($38,400) profit in the latest quarter. Its new management, installed after a hostile takeover, said the turnaround was because of a better focus on "what broadcasters are currently really interested in … and formats that work on various platforms, especially mobile and Internet platforms." Loonland said it will not break even this year but will return to profitability in 2007.
Publishing and direct-marketing firm Reader's Digest Association Inc. has agreed to be purchased by an investor group led by private-equity firm Ripplewood Holdings Llc. for $1.6 billion. Ripplewood already has similar businesses in its portfolio, including Time Life, a former Time Inc. property that is a direct marketer of music, books and other products. Ripplewood is paying $17 in cash for each share, a 10% premium.