money digest


Pacific screens Aussie Hoyts

Sydney-based private-equity group Pacific Equity Partners said Monday that it has acquired Australian cinema operator and film distributor the Hoyts Group for AUS$440 million ($365 million) from owners Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd. and West Australian Newspapers. Hoyts operates a 400-screen cinema circuit in Australia and New Zealand, Val Morgan cinema advertising and Hoyts Distribution. PBL and WAN said they will net about AUS$150 million each from the sale, which is expected to close in November. They each paid $129 million for Hoyts in 2005.

High hopes for Apple

Apple stock hit a high Monday before retreating slightly after Citigroup raised its share-price target and earnings estimates. The stock rose 2.9% to $148.28 after Citigroup lifted its target from $160 to $185, citing surprisingly strong computer sales, Apple's recent price cut for its iPhone (pictured) and falling component prices for iPods. Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner raised his earnings-per-share estimates for Apple from $4.30 to $4.76 for 2008 and from $5.55 to $6.35 for 2009. Apple was Monday's second-biggest gainer on The Hollywood Reporter's Showbiz 50 stock index.

Clear Channel vote today

Shareholders are scheduled to vote today on a proposed $19.5 billion buyout of radio giant Clear Channel Communications by a private-equity group led by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners for $39.20 per share. Shares of Clear Channel were down fractionally Monday to $36.77.