news digest


Providence considers $15 bil Virgin bid

LONDON — Providence Equity Partners is considering a $15 billion consortium bid for ailing U.K. cable operator Virgin Media, in which Richard Branson is the biggest shareholder, the U.K. Observer newspaper reported Sunday. The report said that Providence was part of a consortium including Blackstone, KKR and Cinven looking at the possibility of a bid based on Virgin Media's ailing share price. The cabler last week said that it lost 47,000 customers in the first quarter, sending shares plunging to $24. During the same period, British Sky Broadcasting added 52,000 homes. None of the parties could be reached for comment.

Spears, Smith boost MyNetTV

MyNetworkTV scored its highest household rating since its September launch Wednesday night with "Anna Nicole Smith: Centerfold Revisited" and "Britney Spears: A Pop Idol Exposed," which delivered a combined 0.9 household rating from 8-10 p.m., representing a 200% increase over the previous week. The shows aired opposite tough competition from CBS' "The Price Is Right Million Dollar Spectacular" and Fox's "American Idol."

Nintendo's Wii lifts video games in April

U.S. sales of video games and hardware jumped 20% year-over-year in April to $839 million, driven by strong demand for Nintendo Co.'s Wii console, but software sales alone dropped 1% to $390 million on a light release schedule, according to research firm NPD. The overall software and hardware figure was down from the $1.1 billion recorded in March.

City Lights shines on 'Manda Bala'

Danny Fisher, CEO of New York-based City Lights Pictures, a division of City Lights Media Group, said Friday that the company has acquired North American distribution rights to 2007 Sundance Film Festival Documentary Grand Jury Prize winner "Manda Bala" (Send a Bullet).

Imax warned again of Nasdaq delisting

TORONTO — Giant-screen exhibitor Imax Corp. said Friday that it has received a second warning from the Nasdaq financial exchange that it faces delisting of its stock for failing to file its 2006 financial results on time. Toronto-based Imax said the May 14 letter from the U.S.-based Nasdaq was a formality and had been anticipated and that the delisting of its stock has been stayed by a hearing with Nasdaq officials scheduled for Thursday.

MTV Latin America shoring up lineups

MTV Networks Latin America said that it has reached agreements for acquisitions for MTV Latin America and VH1 Latin America that will be included in the latter half of the networks' 2007 programming lineups. MTV Latin America's acquisitions include "Sons of Butcher" from Picture Box in Canada, while VH1 Latin America has acquired several films for its "Movies That Rock" block, with titles including "Barbershop" from MGM and "School of Rock" from Paramount.

National Board earmarks $55K for grants

The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures is awarding a record $55,000 in grants this year to students at nine universities near or around New York for their student films. The winners are being announced throughout the month, with the winning films available on the board Web site afterward.
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