news digest


EP's $7.1 mil wins Axium auction

The remaining assets of bankrupt Axium International's payroll business was sold at auction Thursday to employee-owned payroll and production management provider Entertainment Partners for $7.1 million. Included in the acquisition are software assets and the servers housing the assets. EP did not acquire accounting or payroll data but has made arrangements to assist the trustee's delivery of confidential information to the appropriate parties. Court appointed trustee Howard Ehrenberg will be generating 2007 W2s and responding to requests for confidential data.

Semel exits as Yahoo board chair

Terry Semel has quit as chairman of the board of Yahoo, the company said late Thursday. The end to Semel's association with Yahoo comes seven months after he was replaced as CEO by company co-founder Jerry Yang. Yahoo said that Roy Bostock, a longtime advertising industry executive and board member since 2003, has taken over as chairman. Semel became chairman and CEO of Yahoo in May 2001.

Paramount officially opens Japan office

TOKYO — Paramount Pictures marked the opening of its Japan distribution office Thursday with the ceremonial cracking open of barrels of sake at a hotel in the Ebisu district of Tokyo. The Japanese office of the movie giant opened Jan. 1, according to Andrew Cripps, head of Paramount Pictures International, the latest move in the company's ambitious expansion plans. Based in London and established 13 months ago, Paramount's new international arm will open offices in Spain and Germany this year and has released 38 films internationally since its debut, Cripps said, led by "Shrek the Third" and "Transformers."

George gets creative with Overture

NEW YORK — Overture has hired Jackson George as executive vp creative advertising, reporting to the studio's marketing and distribution president Peter Adee. George will supervise creative campaigns for the firm's theatrical releases, a role that encompasses trailers as well as TV and print advertising. George comes from In Sync Advertising, where as creative director he helped create campaigns for projects like "Inside Man."

MSN gets ticket to Grammy party

NEW YORK — MSN is providing music fans with access to one of the recording industry's more exclusive events — the annual pre-Grammy party hosted by Clive Davis. Davis, the CEO of RCA Music Group, has long thrown memorable parties the night before the Grammys, complete with red-carpet entrances and live performances. This year's party is set for Feb. 9 — and the guest list is being kept under wraps. Regardless, the following day, just before that night's Grammy ceremony, MSN will post highlights from the party, along with guest interviews. On-demand clips from the event will be streamable starting Feb. 11.

Smith tapped at Paramount

Roderick Smith has been named executive vp production finance at Paramount, where he will oversee the day-to-day operations of the studio's production finance department, which includes budgeting, cost estimating and monitoring of production incentives and tax rebate activity for domestic and international productions. Smith will report to Mark Bakshi, Paramount president of feature production management.