news digest


Tribune re-eyes PE group in sale derby

Tribune Co. has gone back to firms that looked at its operations but didn't submit a bid to see whether they would be willing to make an offer because the media company wasn't excited by three bids it received, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. One of the parties Tribune contacted again was a private-equity consortium made up of Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners and Apollo Advisors, but without success, it said. Tribune appears to favor an offer from billionaires Eli Broad and Ronald Burkle but likely will ask them for a sweetened proposal, the Journal said. Tribune officials couldn't be reached for comment. A special committee of the company's board is scheduled to meet again this weekend.

PS3 game for Europe bow March 23

Sony Corp. will launch its PlayStation 3 gaming console in Europe and other markets on March 23, the company said Thursday. The entertainment and electronics giant will focus on the launch of the high-end 60GB model in Europe, with a potential introduction of the basic 20GB model later. Besides Europe, the launch also will cover Africa, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

Microsoft Q2 profit lower but tops Street

Microsoft Corp. posted a fiscal second-quarter profit decline of 28% on Thursday, but its profit still exceeded Wall Street expectations. The profit of $2.63 billion compared with $3.65 billion a year ago. Revenue rose 6% year-over-year to $12.54 billion. Microsoft's revenue gain was helped by a 76% jump at its entertainment and devices unit, which includes the Xbox 360 video game console. That division reported quarterly revenue of $2.96 billion, but it lost $289 million, about in line with the year-ago loss of $286 million.

'Riches' set for March 12 bow

FX said Thursday that its new drama series "The Riches," starring Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver, will debut at 10 p.m. March 12. The premiere episode will air with limited commercial interruption thanks to a sponsorship from the Weinstein Co. and Dimension Films' upcoming feature film "Grindhouse." The series, which will air regularly at 10 p.m. Mondays, centers on a family who goes on the run after stealing money but through an accident is provided with an opportunity to obtain to the identity of a well-to-do, "normal" family. "Riches" is produced by FX Prods. and Fox Television Studios.

Imax in day-date plan for Warners' '300'

Warner Bros. Pictures' "300," director Zack Snyder's adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel about the battle of Thermopylae, will become the next film to debut simultaneously in conventional theaters and Imax large-format screens. A Mark Canton/Gianni Nunnari production, "300" opens domestically March 9, becoming the first new film this year to open at Imax theaters.

U-verse subs steady at 3K at end of '06

AT&T Inc. ended 2006 with about 3,000 subscribers to its U-verse video service, the company reported Thursday. That is almost unchanged from its user numbers as of Sept. 30. AT&T said U-verse service has been launched in parts of 11 markets, below its previous target of 15 by the end of 2006. For the year, U-verse deployment costs reduced full-year earnings per share by 6 cents, with a 9 cents-11 cents per-share impact expected this year, AT&T said.